noun \ ˈzēl \
|Updated on: 15 Jul 2018

Definition of zeal

: eagerness and ardent interest in pursuit of something : fervor
  • her zeal to succeed strained her relationships

Examples of zeal in a Sentence

  1. … he was uncomfortable with their lavish parties and their collector's zeal for the most expensive, most ostentatious brand names—Rolex and Prada and Farragamo. —Anne TylerDigging to America2006
  2. In 1248, channelling his piety into crusading zeal, Louis embarked on the Seventh Crusade, against the wishes of the Pope and against the judgement of his counsellors. —Alistair HorneSeven Ages of Paris2002
  3. He showed his anatomical zeal by robbing a wayside gibbet, smuggling the bones back home and reconstructing the skeleton. —Roy PorterThe Greatest Benefit to Mankind1997

Recent Examples of zeal from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'zeal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of zeal

Middle English zele, from Late Latin zelus, from Greek zēlos

Synonym Discussion of zeal

passion, fervor, ardor, enthusiasm, zeal mean intense emotion compelling action. passion applies to an emotion that is deeply stirring or ungovernable.
    • was a slave to his passions
fervor implies a warm and steady emotion.
    • read the poem aloud with great fervor
ardor suggests warm and excited feeling likely to be fitful or short-lived.
    • the ardor of their honeymoon soon faded
enthusiasm applies to lively or eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, cause, or activity.
    • never showed much enthusiasm for sports
zeal implies energetic and unflagging pursuit of an aim or devotion to a cause.
    • preaches with fanatical zeal

ZEAL Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of zeal for English Language Learners

  • : a strong feeling of interest and enthusiasm that makes someone very eager or determined to do something

ZEAL Defined for Kids


noun \ ˈzēl \

Definition of zeal for Students

: eager desire to get something done or see something succeed
  • Feeling better, she attacked her homework with renewed zeal.
  • —Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy

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one who attends or assists a leader

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