verb pros·e·ly·tize \ ˈprä-s(ə-)lə-ˌtīz \

Definition of proselytize

proselytized; proselytizing
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


play \ˌprä-s(ə-)lə-tə-ˈzā-shən, ˌprä-sə-ˌlī-tə-\ noun


play \ˈprä-s(ə-)lə-ˌtī-zər\ noun

proselytize was our Word of the Day on 01/05/2011. Hear the podcast!

Examples of proselytize in a Sentence

  1. They are a sport-shirted, discomforted lot, pacing, puffing feverishly on cigarettes, perspiring freely and proselytizing furiously. —Nicholas DawidoffSports Illustrated19 Aug. 1991
  2. His prodigious correspondence with twenty-five hundred scientists, politicians, and men of letters … proselytized for his new science of statistics. —Daniel J. BoorstinThe Discoverers1983
  3. He uses his position to proselytize for the causes that he supports.

  4. the efforts of early missionaries to proselytize the Native Americans of Minnesota were largely unproductive

Recent Examples of proselytize from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of proselytize

proselytize Synonyms

proselyte, convert
Related Words
missionize; brainwash, influence, sway; propagate
Near Antonyms
secularize; dissuade

PROSELYTIZE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of proselytize for English Language Learners

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

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a eulogistic oration or writing

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