proselytize

verb
pros·​e·​ly·​tize | \ ˈprä-s(ə-)lə-ˌtīz How to pronounce proselytize (audio) \
proselytized; proselytizing

Definition of proselytize

intransitive verb

1 : to induce someone to convert to one's faith
2 : to recruit someone to join one's party, institution, or cause

transitive verb

: to recruit or convert especially to a new faith, institution, or cause

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Other Words from proselytize

proselytization \ ˌprä-​s(ə-​)lə-​tə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce proselytization (audio) , ˌprä-​sə-​ˌlī-​tə-​ \ noun
proselytizer \ ˈprä-​s(ə-​)lə-​ˌtī-​zər How to pronounce proselytizer (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for proselytize

Synonyms

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Did You Know?

Proselytize comes from the noun proselyte (meaning "a new convert"), which comes from the Late Latin noun proselytus. Proselytus means "stranger" or "alien resident," and comes from a similar Greek word (prosēlytos). When proselytize entered English in the 17th century, it had a distinctly religious connotation and meant simply "to recruit religious converts." This meaning is still common, but today one can also proselytize in a broader sense - recruiting converts to one's political party or pet cause, for example.

Examples of proselytize in a Sentence

They are a sport-shirted, discomforted lot, pacing, puffing feverishly on cigarettes, perspiring freely and proselytizing furiously. — Nicholas Dawidoff, Sports Illustrated, 19 Aug. 1991 His prodigious correspondence with twenty-five hundred scientists, politicians, and men of letters … proselytized for his new science of statistics. — Daniel J. Boorstin, The Discoverers, 1983 He uses his position to proselytize for the causes that he supports. the efforts of early missionaries to proselytize the Native Americans of Minnesota were largely unproductive
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Recent Examples on the Web The Corn Laws were repealed in 1846, three years after the magazine first appeared, and Wilson began to proselytize more energetically for free trade and the increasingly prominent discipline of economics. Pankaj Mishra, The New Yorker, "Liberalism According to The Economist," 4 Nov. 2019 Christians in Laos, especially those carrying out proselytizing work, face pressure from two quarters. Grant Peck, The Seattle Times, "Evangelical group says 3 US volunteers detained in Laos," 13 Apr. 2019 The LeBarons have long sought connections with fellow Mexicans to proselytize about their beliefs. Rebecca Janzen, The Conversation, "Mormons in Mexico: A brief history of polygamy, cartel violence and faith," 6 Nov. 2019 This news painted Freeze, who had proselytized as a God-fearing and Jesus-loving man throughout his ascent in coaching, as a huckstering fraud. Los Angeles Times, "Look out Notre Dame, the Falwells have big plans for Liberty football," 27 Aug. 2019 Criers publicized events and proselytized Black Axe principles in flyers or emails. Sean Williams, Harper's magazine, "The Black Axe," 19 Aug. 2019 Some nonreligious folks also see the church solution as nothing but an excuse for the faithful to proselytize. Ericka Andersen, WSJ, "Is God the Answer to the Suicide Epidemic?," 11 July 2019 While the Turkish Red Crescent regularly partners with IHH, its activities focus as much on proselytizing as on aid. Michael Rubin, National Review, "Turkey’s Africa Strategy Threatens to Breed Islamist Extremism," 26 June 2019 In contrast to other North American colonies established by the British, French and Spanish, the Dutch didn’t come to flee religious persecution or to proselytize. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Time Flies When You’re the Capital of the World," 4 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'proselytize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of proselytize

1679, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for proselytize

see proselyte entry 1

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Time Traveler for proselytize

Time Traveler

The first known use of proselytize was in 1679

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Last Updated

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Proselytize.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proselytization. Accessed 15 December 2019.

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More Definitions for proselytize

proselytize

verb
How to pronounce proselytize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of proselytize

formal + often disapproving : to try to persuade people to join a religion, cause, or group

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