zealous

adjective
zeal·​ous | \ ˈze-ləs How to pronounce zealous (audio) \

Definition of zealous

: marked by fervent partisanship for a person, a cause, or an ideal : filled with or characterized by zeal zealous missionaries

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Other Words from zealous

zealously adverb
zealousness noun

Zealous vs. Jealous

Zealous and jealous share not just a rhyme, but an etymology. Both words ultimately come from the Latin zelus “jealousy,” and in the past their meanings were somewhat closer to each other than they are today. In the 16th and 17th centuries, zealous occasionally was used in biblical writing to refer to a quality of apprehensiveness or jealousy of another. By the 18th century, however, it had completely diverged in meaning from jealous, signifying “warmly engaged or ardent on behalf of someone or something.” Today, zealous often carries a connotation of excessive feeling: it typically means “fiercely partisan” or “uncompromisingly enthusiastic.”

Examples of zealous in a Sentence

I was zealous in my demands on my sisters for promptness in rehearsals. I was passionate, intolerant of small talk, hungry for knowledge, grabby, bossy, precocious. — Lynn Margulis, Curious Minds, (2004) 2005 Sir Thomas was zealous in the pursuit of recusants, not poachers, and was otherwise an amiable man. — S. Schoenbaum, Shakespeare's Lives, 1991 Zealous in his ministerial labours, blameless in his life and habits, he yet did not appear to enjoy that mental serenity, that inward content, which should be the reward of every sincere Christian and practical philanthropist. — Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, 1847 He had no cause for self-reproach on the score of neglect, or want of thought, for he had been devoted to her service; and yet a hundred little occasions rose up before him, on which he fancied he might have been more zealous, and more earnest, and wished he had been. — Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, 1838 The detective was zealous in her pursuit of the kidnappers.
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Recent Examples on the Web Other Latin American countries, including El Salvador and Honduras, have stricter limits or total prohibitions, with zealous prosecution of women whose pregnancies don’t end in a live birth. New York Times, "Argentina Legalizes Abortion, a Milestone in a Conservative Region," 30 Dec. 2020 Some of the movie’s most affecting scenes feature Levee, a zealous and temperamental trumpet player, whom Boseman inhabits with characteristic grace. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and the Liberating Power of Music," 19 Dec. 2020 Europe has been a zealous driver of electrification, and ultra-rigid fuel economy requirements have continued to favor smaller cars than U.S. customers would care to look at. Jens Meiners, Car and Driver, "All the Cool Cars Europe Is Getting in 2021 and We're Not," 27 Dec. 2020 Vicki is practical, brisk and loving, with a streak of the zealous cleaning lady. Mary Norris, The New Yorker, "The Archives of an Unfulfilled Genius," 27 Dec. 2020 The two artists have been yoked together, sometimes unfairly, causing a few uncomfortable moments for Cauvin, who has made the mistake of engaging some of Cooper’s more zealous supporters on Twitter. Los Angeles Times, "What comes next for a Donald Trump impersonator? J-L Cauvin has thoughts," 17 Dec. 2020 It’s not the small, zealous group of anti-vaxxers that most concern public health officials. Washington Post, "Altruism, cash, coercion and the queen: How the U.K. could convince millions to get coronavirus vaccines," 16 Dec. 2020 The government is more and more zealous in its prosecution of women—for having or facilitating access to abortions or simply having a pregnancy loss that deviates from how prosecutors imagine pregnancy to be. Madeleine Schwartz, The New York Review of Books, "Criminalizing a Constitutional Right," 4 Nov. 2020 Police officers in Philadelphia gave the Friday after Thanksgiving its dark name in 1966 as zealous shoppers mobbed streets and sidewalks. L.s. Dugdale, STAT, "Rethinking Black Friday to include end-of-life conversations," 27 Nov. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for zealous

Time Traveler

The first known use of zealous was in the 15th century

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Statistics for zealous

Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Zealous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zealous. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for zealous

zealous

adjective
How to pronounce zealous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of zealous

: feeling or showing strong and energetic support for a person, cause, etc. : filled with zeal

zealous

adjective
zeal·​ous | \ ˈze-ləs How to pronounce zealous (audio) \

Kids Definition of zealous

1 : filled with or showing a strong and energetic desire to get something done or see something succeed The police were zealous in their pursuit of the criminals.
2 : marked by passionate support for a person, cause, or ideal a zealous fan

Other Words from zealous

zealously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on zealous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for zealous

Nglish: Translation of zealous for Spanish Speakers

Comments on zealous

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