\ 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 But haste and zeal may work against the administration. Lisa Friedman, New York Times, "Trump’s Move Against Landmark Environmental Law Caps a Relentless Agenda," 9 Jan. 2020 The point of it all, Jamie tells us, was not about finding treasure to display; the discoveries helped revitalize pride and traditional skills that had been lost to colonialism and missionary zeal. Nancy Lord, Anchorage Daily News, "From Quinhagak to Scotland, archaeology reveals meaning in new book of essays," 2 Nov. 2019 Che a soulful, poetic introvert, Fidel a manically garrulous extrovert—but possessed the same revolutionary zeal. Lisette Poole, Smithsonian, "Roaring Through Cuba With Che Guevara’s Son," 24 Oct. 2019 The bogus part of the Silicon Valley story — its glittery myth — is that entrepreneurial zeal and high IQs alone created the racing heart of the modern tech industry. Greg Jefferson, ExpressNews.com, "Air Force tech startup turns Silicon Valley history on its head," 13 Dec. 2019 Such zeal wasn’t ever remotely American, until now. John Kass, Twin Cities, "John Kass: Is this still a free country? The new movie ‘No Safe Spaces’ raises frightening doubts," 6 Dec. 2019 The economic climate may be helping to spur the zeal for deals. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Shoppers hit stores Thanksgiving for Black Friday deals, overload websites like Costco," 29 Nov. 2019 The exclamation point signifies both the zeal that film historian Jeanine Basinger brings to her decades-spanning survey and the way in which the genre itself rises, without apology, above the mere declarative. Louis Bayard, Washington Post, "The glorious history of movie musicals," 27 Nov. 2019 The Wings were listless and sloppy, though the Hurricanes didn't show much zeal either, as both teams were playing the second end of a back-to-back. Dana Gauruder, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings shut out by Hurricanes, 2-0, in Filip Zadina's season debut," 25 Nov. 2019

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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Learn More about zeal

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 2020

Cite this Entry

“Zeal.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zeal?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=z&file=zeal0001. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on zeal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for zeal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with zeal

Spanish Central: Translation of zeal

Nglish: Translation of zeal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of zeal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on zeal

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