enthusiast versus aficionado

en·thu·si·ast     enˈTHo͞ozēˌast/

Definition: a person who is highly interested in a particular activity or subject.


 a·fi·ci·o·na·do   əˌfiSH(ē)əˈnädō,əˌfisyə-/

Definition: a person who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about an activity, subject, or pastime.


I’ve always called myself a cycling enthusiast but for some reason I recently used the word aficionado. I love linguistics and always try to use “big words” correctly so I started to question which word describes me best.  I love my bicycle but I don’t know how much it weighs or what type of derailleur it has. I love that it’s comfortable, goes fast, is a pretty colour purple and I like to ride it a lot. Based on that alone, I would say I’m currently an enthusiast. I could become an aficionado but the “nuts & bolts” of cycling really don’t interest me. Besides, I know a few cycling aficionados and it seems it’s often a slippery slope to the next stop… “zealot”


zeal·ot    ˈzelət/

Definition: a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals.

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