zealot

noun zeal·ot \ ˈze-lət \
Updated on: 16 Nov 2017

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

Examples of zealot in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples of zealot from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of zealot

Late Latin zelotes, from Greek zēlōtēs, from zēlos


ZEALOT Defined for English Language Learners

zealot

noun

Definition of zealot for English Language Learners

  • : 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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