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"fanaticism (the kind of religious certainty that licensed going beyond the common moral order)."

That makes so much more sense, and is so much more useful, than the usual usage. I think I'm going to have to regress to that.

Alrenous: I'm delighted to have once again defended the validity of the archaic meanings of words. :) This older meaning of "fanatic" is readily understandable today, and does make a lot of sense. But of course, doesn't work in the context of "football fanatic"... but I suppose 'fan' has diverged from its root word by quite a margin nowadays!

I think it does work pretty well for "football fanatic." Football isn't a moral realm. (Except English football re: riots.) So, generalize a bit to simply going beyond the common aesthetic order; not overindulging or similar intuitions. The football fanatic clearly and firmly transgresses these.

Or perhaps this; the football fanatic does, in fact, bring football into the moral realm, thereby transgressing regular moral order.

Which means I'm quite happy with 'fan' having diverged. If you just memorize statistics and stay up late to watch games, you're not a fanatic, just a fan.

Alrenous: Of course, we already have the word "hooligan" to distinguish between the harmless sports fan and the "fanatic" in this case - and I think you can make a case for transcending the moral order here. But you're a little unfair to England fans... by no means the only hooligans in the world, and I understand no longer the national fans with the worst reputation for violence.

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