proselytize

verb
pros·e·ly·tize | \ ˈprä-s(ə-)lə-ˌtīz \
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, ˌprä-sə-ˌlī-tə- \ noun
proselytizer \ˈprä-s(ə-)lə-ˌtī-zər \ noun

Synonyms for proselytize

Synonyms

convert, proselyte

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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 church prides itself on its contributions to international humanitarian efforts, promoting and proselytizing a specific curriculum of family values. Mica Mcgriggs, Teen Vogue, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Celebrated the 40-Year Anniversary of the Lifted Ban Against Black Members," 11 July 2018 The friend, state Sen. Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City), liked the idea of a statewide candidate proselytizing about the necessity for modernization. Paul Schwartzman, Washington Post, "Alec Ross: Tech guru sets his sights on new horizon, becoming Maryland governor," 12 June 2018 That's what Linda Wells, founding editor of Allure and current chief creative officer at Revlon, has always proselytized — and her ethos has turned countless beauty lovers into believers. refinery29.com, "We Tried Everything From Flesh Beauty — & Here's Our Unfiltered Opinion," 26 June 2018 Beyond the meritocratic inventory system, Desert Island proselytizes offbeat creativity through its annual fall festival, Comic Arts Brooklyn, together with the Pratt Institute. Matthew Sedacca, New York Times, "The ‘Punk Rock’ Comic Book Shop," 7 June 2018 Since campaigning for the Irish referendum began, American anti-choice activists have travelled to Ireland to proselytize at length in defense of the Eighth Amendment. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "How American Christians Are Swaying Ireland’s Abortion Referendum," 24 May 2018 So not only can religious groups proselytize inside stations, but the CTA even allows people to offer commuters flyers for appliance sales or hip-hop shows within el stops. John Greenfield, Chicago Reader, "Is it legal for Jehovah’s Witnesses to proselytize inside CTA stations?," 8 May 2018 Hundreds of other missionaries have been imprisoned or expelled by China, which bans foreigners from proselytizing. Washington Post, "Missionaries at border spread Christianity to North Korea," 5 Apr. 2018 The Mormon church has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit accusing leaders of brushing aside rape allegations dating to 1984 against the former head of a church training center that prepares young members for proselytizing missions. Lindsay Whitehurst, Fox News, "Mormon church wants 1984 rape case against leader tossed out," 16 May 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

The first known use of proselytize was in 1679

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More Definitions for proselytize

proselytize

verb

English Language Learners Definition of proselytize

: to try to persuade people to join a religion, cause, or group

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