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 But this hero, the kind-hearted Yugi, is possessed by a more bold, zealous spirit that goes by Pharaoh. Nick Romano, EW.com, "The best anime on Netflix right now," 18 Sep. 2020 And as observers ranging from foresters to Californians living in the wildland urban interface predicted, the state's zealous, century-long fight to suppress fires meant this flammable concoction grew to unstable levels. Mark Olalde, USA TODAY, "Creek Fire ignites fire management debate on 102 million trees killed by beetles, drought," 16 Sep. 2020 Critics instead point to gross government mismanagement, neglect, and over-zealous legislation that prohibits even private owners from adequate backburning. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Fighting California's future wildfires with revolutionary new VR technology," 12 Sep. 2020 Gobert, meanwhile, displayed zero reticence in proclaiming that the players who do return will attack their individual improvement plans with the zealous fanaticism of those determined to reach the top. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, "The Utah Jazz have plenty to do this offseason, but the plans are just starting to come into focus," 4 Sep. 2020 Yet this time, Rankine might seem less obviously in step with a newly zealous discourse on race. Ismail Muhammad, The Atlantic, "Claudia Rankine’s Quest for Racial Dialogue," 4 Sep. 2020 But his directive lacked specifics, leaving it up to zealous officials and citizens across the nation to engineer sometimes drastic methods to tackle the issue. Ben Westcott, CNN, "In authoritarian China, eating freely is a cherished activity. Now a food waste campaign wants to control meals, too," 28 Aug. 2020 However, those same Republican leaders do not outright discourage voters who may be the most zealous QAnon truthers, which is evidenced by campaign finance filings. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, "The First Lawmaker Who Openly Supports QAnon Just Won A Primary Election In Georgia," 12 Aug. 2020 Even now, white liberals sympathetic to Black Lives Matter are disdained and mocked, and those most committed to denouncing the zealous rhetoric of progressive activists have never paused to assess the effectiveness of their own histrionics. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "The Willful Blindness of Reactionary Liberalism," 6 July 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

25 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Zealous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zealous. Accessed 30 Sep. 2020.

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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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