\ ˈzēl How to pronounce zeal (audio) \

Definition of zeal

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

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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. 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

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 perennial lesson of the American colony, which Moroni doesn’t teach Ayad, is that zeal and earnestness of purpose in art trump the ambiguity that often supplies the best literature. Amir-hussein Radjy, The New Republic, "A Novelist’s Reckoning With Identity Politics," 6 Jan. 2021 The comic-book-loving Black rapper from the largely white exurb of Rosemount brought along a full band, horn section, stage props, giddy dancers and an own-the-moment zeal to rule the room that night. Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune, "The year in Minnesota music: best albums and most trying moments," 24 Dec. 2020 Long ago, in the land of Myra, a very kind and generous Bishop Nicholas became endeared to his flock by practicing virtues of charity, love and zeal. Brenda Yenke, cleveland, "The Christmas pageantry begins: Yenke Peddler antiques," 24 Dec. 2020 Above all, what was distinctive about Andrew was his mixture of worldly wisdom and practical competence with intellectual seriousness and real religious zeal. Nr Symposium, National Review, "Men of Heroic Virtue Can Live in the World Today — Andrew Walther Did," 6 Dec. 2020 If Texas now has to settle for Plan B, will the zeal and the dollars be there for someone else? Chuck Carlton, Dallas News, "Urban Meyer’s comments, positive COVID-19 tests within the Longhorns, and what it all means for Tom Herman," 6 Dec. 2020 Well, the party has now muscled Judiciary Committee ranking Member Dianne Feinstein out of her post for insufficient ideological zeal. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Democrats Defrock Dianne Feinstein," 24 Nov. 2020 Murray has brought magic and melodrama to Arizona and the NFL and his competitiveness and enthusiastic zeal to be great is leaving an indelible mark on his teammates and coaches, as well as countless football fans. Bob Mcmanaman, The Arizona Republic, "What can the Cardinals and Kyler Murray do for an encore? Find a way to beat the Seahawks," 19 Nov. 2020 Brands is an adroit storyteller and captures both Brown’s intensity and zeal and Lincoln’s pragmatism and wit. Barbara Spindel, The Christian Science Monitor, "Lincoln brought strength of character – and backwoods wit – to governing," 29 Oct. 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for zeal

Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Zeal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zeal. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for zeal


How to pronounce zeal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of zeal

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


\ 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

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