: 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
Recent Examples on the Web Material scientists have amped up their efforts in response, developing next-gen biomaterials with new zeal and knowledge, plus more novel textile-to-textile recycling methods. Lauren Parker, Sourcing Journal, 9 July 2024 Vance, by contrast, sounds like a true believer with the zeal of a convert. Max Boot, Washington Post, 5 July 2024 Tebow’s open embrace of his Christian faith sparked a conversation about the appropriateness of religious zeal in the public square, in this case the football field. Sean Gregory, TIME, 10 June 2024 There’s an important distinction there, and after two roller-coaster seasons leading the football operations at Halas Hall, Poles better understands the zeal of a fan base that’s waiting for — and in some cases demanding — the team’s resurgence. Dan Wiederer, Hartford Courant, 25 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for zeal 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'zeal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near zeal

Cite this Entry

“Zeal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zeal. Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


: eager desire in going for a goal

More from Merriam-Webster on zeal

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