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 That could leave some parents with an uncomfortable choice between sending a child to a public school that is losing funding as a result of vouchers or a religious private school that may proselytize their children. Frank S. Ravitch, The Conversation, "Supreme Court hands victory to school voucher lobby – will religious minorities, nonbelievers and state autonomy lose out?," 7 July 2020 The assailants accused him of being sympathetic to Christian missionaries and proselytizing to local tribes. Soumya Shankar, The Christian Science Monitor, "How one monk’s “inner evolution” fuels social justice work," 21 May 2020 And while fellow cannabis converts and devotees are the film’s focus, Avallone — also the accomplished editor — succeeds at not proselytizing but rather humanizing the issue. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, "Review: A father fights for the life of his son in the documentary ‘Waldo on Weed’," 8 Apr. 2020 But the group's history of proselytizing while providing relief in places like El Salvador in 2001 says otherwise. refinery29.com, "Is This Central Park Field Hospital Being Run By A Hate Group?," 1 Apr. 2020 In Marx and Engels's view, the phrase is used to proselytize worldwide class conflict. Anthony Leonardi, Washington Examiner, "'Workers of the world unite': American Factory director echoes Communist Manifesto rallying cry after Oscars win," 9 Feb. 2020 There remains no better place for Brady to compete for championships, continue to play in an offense tailored to him like a bespoke suit, and proselytize the TB12 Method to the masses than Patriot Place. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Why Bill Belichick and Tom Brady should stick together," 3 Feb. 2020 Its outsize role recalls the Church’s secular power — and decidedly mixed legacy — in Latin America’s colonial era, when proselytizing spread deadly germs along with education. Anatoly Kurmanaev, New York Times, "Do-gooder or ‘Devil’? A Friar’s Work Divides a Venezuelan Village," 3 Jan. 2020 But that didn't stop him from continuing to proselytize against vaccines or prevent vaccine opponents from embracing his study. Douglas Starr, Science | AAAS, "This Italian scientist has become a celebrity by fighting vaccine skeptics," 2 Jan. 2020

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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Cite this Entry

“Proselytize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proselytize. Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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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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