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 proselytize (audio) , ˌprä-​sə-​ˌlī-​tə-​ \ noun
proselytizer \ ˈprä-​s(ə-​)lə-​ˌtī-​zər How to pronounce proselytize (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 Biden-Harris administration doesn't proselytize about theories, only actions. Star Tribune, "Hail to 'President Elbow Grease'," 2 May 2021 Their goal is not to proselytize; Jains don’t practice conversion. Los Angeles Times, "Little known outside India, Jainism spreads at colleges amid calls to ‘decolonize’ studies," 2 May 2021 If someone decides to proselytize against public safety, science and common sense, you should be prepared with a calm, factual and honest response. Washington Post, "Ask Amy: Sibling relationship seems one-sided," 30 Mar. 2021 Monday’s case came from Lawrenceville, Ga., where authorities at Georgia Gwinnett College repeatedly frustrated student Chike Uzuegbunam’s efforts to proselytize his Christian faith. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Supreme Court Widens Path for Free-Speech Cases," 8 Mar. 2021 The epitome of an Amazon lifer, Mr. Jassy helped conceive and proselytize many of the company’s mechanisms and internal culture. New York Times, "How Andy Jassy, Amazon’s Next C.E.O., Was a ‘Brain Double’ for Jeff Bezos," 3 Feb. 2021 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

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

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Proselytize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proselytize. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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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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