zealot

noun
zeal·​ot | \ ˈze-lət How to pronounce zealot (audio) \

Definition of zealot

1 : a zealous person especially : a fanatical partisan a religious zealot
2 capitalized : a member of a fanatical sect arising in Judea during the first century a.d. and militantly opposing the Roman domination of Palestine

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Synonyms & Antonyms for zealot

Synonyms

crusader, fanatic, ideologue (also idealogue), militant, partisan (also partizan), red hot, true believer

Antonyms

nonmilitant

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Did You Know?

In the 1st century A.D., a fanatical sect arose in Judaea to oppose the Roman domination of Palestine. Known as the Zealots, they fought their most famous battle at the great fortress of Masada, where 1,000 defenders took their own lives just as the Romans were about to storm the fort. Over the years, zealot came to mean anyone who is passionately devoted to a cause. The adjective zealous may describe someone who's merely dedicated and energetic ("a zealous investigator", "zealous about combating inflation", etc.). But zealot (like its synonym fanatic) and zealotry (like its synonym fanaticism) are used disapprovingly—even while Jews everywhere still honor the memory of those who died at Masada.

Examples of zealot in a Sentence

zealots on both sides of the issue resorted to name-calling and scare tactics

Recent Examples on the Web

And science journalism has taken a hit, and is perhaps why CNN interviewed an anti-science zealot. The Conversation, "Confused about what to eat? Science can help," 5 July 2019 But the decline will be slower than fintech zealots believe. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Citi CEO: In an Age of Fintech Disruption, Don't Sleep on the Bank Branch," 21 June 2019 Their determinedly anachronistic costumes (are some of the zealots wearing Lycra?) add to the unreality; the sense that Jesus Christ Superstar is as much an aesthetic (and commercial) exercise as any of Webber’s other creations. Marley Marius, Vogue, "The 5 Campiest Musicals Ever Made," 27 Apr. 2019 Venkaiah Naidu, the Indian vice president who referred to English as a disease, is from a southern state but nevertheless is a Hindi zealot. WSJ, "India’s Hindi Zealots Should Show Humility," 25 Sep. 2018 Some of the anti-Trump zealots are now claiming that the Russians actually swung the election. Fox News, "Will Giuliani's press tour help or hurt the president?," 31 July 2018 Hundreds have been killed by zealots and their places of worship have been targeted; thousands more have fled Pakistan. Fox News, "In Pakistan's elections, minorities face daunting challenge," 23 July 2018 Good both for Instagram addicts and flat Earth zealots. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "A ticket on Jeff Bezos’ space tourism rocket will cost at least $200,000," 13 July 2018 Donald Trump’s election and his choice of zealot privatizer Betsy DeVos as U.S. secretary of education bolstered reformers but has also made more Americans wary. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "What and who is fueling the movement to privatize public education — and why you should care," 30 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'zealot.' 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 zealot

1537, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for zealot

Late Latin zelotes, from Greek zēlōtēs, from zēlos

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Dictionary Entries near zealot

zeal

Zealander

zealless

zealot

zealotic

zealotism

zealotry

Statistics for zealot

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for zealot

The first known use of zealot was in 1537

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More Definitions for zealot

zealot

noun

English Language Learners Definition of zealot

often disapproving : a person who has very strong feelings about something (such as religion or politics) and who wants other people to have those feelings : a zealous person

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More from Merriam-Webster on zealot

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with zealot

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for zealot

Spanish Central: Translation of zealot

Nglish: Translation of zealot for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about zealot

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characterized by aphorism

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