Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

zealous

play
adjective zeal·ous \ˈze-ləs\

Simple Definition of zealous

  • : feeling or showing strong and energetic support for a person, cause, etc. : filled with zeal

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of zealous

  1. :  marked by fervent partisanship for a person, a cause, or an ideal :  filled with or characterized by zeal <zealous missionaries>

zealously

adverb

zealousness

noun

Examples of zealous in a sentence

  1. I was zealous in my demands on my sisters for promptness in rehearsals. I was passionate, intolerant of small talk, hungry for knowledge, grabby, bossy, precocious. —Lynn Margulis, Curious Minds, (2004) 2005

  2. Sir Thomas was zealous in the pursuit of recusants, not poachers, and was otherwise an amiable man. —S. Schoenbaum, Shakespeare's Lives, 1991

  3. Zealous in his ministerial labours, blameless in his life and habits, he yet did not appear to enjoy that mental serenity, that inward content, which should be the reward of every sincere Christian and practical philanthropist. —Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, 1847

  4. He had no cause for self-reproach on the score of neglect, or want of thought, for he had been devoted to her service; and yet a hundred little occasions rose up before him, on which he fancied he might have been more zealous, and more earnest, and wished he had been. —Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, 1838

  5. The detective was zealous in her pursuit of the kidnappers.



zealous vs. jealous

Zealous and jealous share not just a rhyme, but an etymology. Both words ultimately come from the Latin zelus “jealousy,” and in the past their meanings were somewhat closer to each other than they are today. In the 16th and 17th centuries, zealous occasionally was used in biblical writing to refer to a quality of apprehensiveness or jealousy of another. By the 18th century, however, it had completely diverged in meaning from jealous, signifying “warmly engaged or ardent on behalf of someone or something.” Today, zealous often carries a connotation of excessive feeling: it typically means “fiercely partisan” or “uncompromisingly enthusiastic.”

1526

First Known Use of zealous

1526


ZEALOUS Defined for Kids

zealous

play
adjective zeal·ous \ˈze-ləs\

Definition of zealous for Students

  1. 1 :  filled with or showing a strong and energetic desire to get something done or see something succeed <The police were zealous in their pursuit of the criminals.>

  2. 2 :  marked by passionate support for a person, cause, or ideal <a zealous fan>

zealously

adverb



Learn More about zealous


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up zealous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a secret group of plotters

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

dog-eating-apple

Which is a synonym of asperse?

defame placate divulge beat
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ