noun \ˈzest\

: lively excitement : a feeling of enjoyment and enthusiasm

: a lively quality that increases enjoyment, excitement, or energy

: small pieces of the skin of a lemon, orange, or lime that are used to flavor food

Full Definition of ZEST

:  a piece of the peel of a citrus fruit (as an orange or lemon) used as flavoring
:  an enjoyably exciting quality :  piquancy <adds zest to the performance>
:  keen enjoyment :  relish, gusto <has a zest for living>
zest·ful \-fəl\ adjective
zest·ful·ly \-fə-lē\ adverb
zest·ful·ness noun
zest·less \-ləs\ adjective

Examples of ZEST

  1. His humor added zest to the performance.
  2. His humor added a certain zest to the performance.
  3. The recipe calls for a tablespoon of lemon zest.

Origin of ZEST

obsolete French (now zeste), orange or lemon peel (used as flavoring)
First Known Use: circa 1674

Other Food Terms

Reuben, calamari, chuck, curry, edamame, foie gras, hummus, leaven, nonpareil, peel
ZEST Defined for Kids


noun \ˈzest\

Definition of ZEST for Kids

:  a piece of the peel of a citrus fruit (as an orange or lemon) used to flavor foods
:  an enjoyable or exciting quality <Her humor added zest to the presentation.>
:  keen enjoyment <They ate with zest.>

Word History of ZEST

The English word zest came from a French word zeste that means the peel of an orange or a lemon. Because their flavor made food more tasty and enjoyable, lemon and orange peels were used to season food. In time the word zest came to mean any quality that made life more enjoyable.


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