“Fan” is an abbreviated form of the word, “fanatic,” which has its roots in the Latin word fanaticus. In its most literal sense, fanaticus meant simply “of or belonging to the temple, a temple servant, a devotee,” but it quickly assumed more negative connotations, “of persons inspired by orgiastic rites and enthusiastic frenzy” (Oxford Latin Dictionary). As it evolved, the term “fanatic” moved from a reference to excessive forms of religious worship to any “excessive and mistaken enthusiasm,” often evoked in criticism to opposing political beliefs, and then, more generally, to madness, “such as might result from possession by a deity or demon” (Oxford English Dictionary). Its abbreviated form, “fan,” first appeared in the late nineteenth century in journalistic accounts describing fans of professional sports and popular theater, and in both cases these fans were seen as having an inappropriate attachment, displaying the wrong beliefs or emotional attitudes toward activities that others saw as not worth those investments (Jenkins, 1992, 12).

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