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

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

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 And the justices had to decide whether the First Amendment protected their right to proselytize like that. Lillian Cunningham, Washington Post, "Episode 16 of the Constitutional podcast: ‘The First Amendment’," 29 Jan. 2018 The idea is you’re supposed to go back to Australia and proselytize about America. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Axios’ Jonathan Swan explains what the press gets wrong about the Trump administration," 6 Dec. 2018 In 2014, the church began giving missionaries tablets and broadened proselytizing to social media. Brady Mccombs, Fox News, "No more snail mail: Mormons to receive mission calls online," 6 Sep. 2018 Terence McKenna, the great mushroom proselytizer, was heavily involved, proselytizing for virtual reality and its virtues. Recode Staff, Recode, "How ‘hackers, founders, and freaks’ built Silicon Valley," 3 Aug. 2018 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

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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Statistics for proselytize

Last Updated

11 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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

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Comments on proselytize

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not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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