\ ˈzēl How to pronounce zeal (audio) \

Essential Meaning of zeal

: a strong feeling of interest and enthusiasm that makes someone very eager or determined to do something She attacked her homework with renewed zeal [=enthusiasm] after getting her first A. a politician known for his zeal [=passion] for reform See More Examplesreligious/entrepreneurial zeal The camp counselors enforced regulations with excessive zeal. [=enforced regulations too strictly]Hide

Full Definition of zeal

: eagerness and ardent interest in pursuit of something : fervor … they took office with an undisguised zeal to do everything differently …The Boston Globe

Choose the Right Synonym for zeal

passion, fervor, ardor, enthusiasm, zeal mean intense emotion compelling action. passion applies to an emotion that is deeply stirring or ungovernable. gave in 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

Examples of zeal in a Sentence

… 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 Tyler, Digging to America, 2006 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 Horne, Seven Ages of Paris, 2002 He showed his anatomical zeal by robbing a wayside gibbet, smuggling the bones back home and reconstructing the skeleton. — Roy Porter, The Greatest Benefit to Mankind, 1997
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Recent Examples on the Web The government has the help of a vast army of community workers who carry out the policy with zeal and hordes of online nationalists who attack anyone raising grievances or concerns. New York Times, 12 Jan. 2022 Because of such zeal and certainty, Green loved his mission. The Salt Lake Tribune, 20 Dec. 2021 There is no legal question here, only a zeal and resource question. Robert Hockett, Forbes, 7 Apr. 2021 Those who knew her described her as a simple woman who never learned to read or write but had an unparalleled zeal for life and a heart overflowing with love. Saphora Smith, NBC News, 13 Oct. 2020 This rejection of conventional measurements of national strength convinced many of his Chinese and international followers alike that revolutionary zeal and sheer will could overcome nearly any obstacle. Howard W. French, The New York Review of Books, 12 Mar. 2020 Odom had 19 points and three steals in 21 minutes, all accomplished with a child-like zeal that kept Xavier fans on their feet and yelling. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 19 Dec. 2021 Adventure eventually beckoned by way of his childhood best friend, a kid with a zeal for thrilling exploits named Alberto, who dragged him out of the waters of overprotection in which he was submerged. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2021 Anton and his friends swap assets with zeal, consulting online value charts like pint-size Wall Street quants. Alex Williams, New York Times, 6 Nov. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of zeal

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for zeal

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

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Time Traveler for zeal

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The first known use of zeal was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

26 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Zeal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zeal. Accessed 28 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for zeal


\ ˈzēl How to pronounce zeal (audio) \

Kids Definition of zeal

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

More from Merriam-Webster on zeal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for zeal

Nglish: Translation of zeal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of zeal for Arabic Speakers


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