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

Reuters/Aly Song American shopping giant Costco got an unexpectedly frenzied welcome from zealous Chinese shoppers. Echo Huang, Quartz, "Here are the crazy scenes from Costco’s opening day in China," 27 Aug. 2019 Unable to deal with authority and likely abusing drugs or alcohol again, the once-zealous athlete is now sleeping on cardboard boxes on the streets of San Francisco. New York Times, "Running to Put San Quentin Behind Him," 8 Aug. 2019 Over-zealous spraying of herbicides that might have poisoned it? oregonlive.com, "Is there hope for this distressed magnolia tree? Ask an Expert," 14 July 2019 The decision could be generously described as over-zealous. Emma Baccellieri, SI.com, "'What Are You Looking At?': The Question That Started the Pirates-Braves Basebrawl," 10 June 2019 Another was voided when a zealous supporter, acting without the candidate’s or employer’s knowledge, parked two employer trailers at a polling site, then plastered them with campaign signage. Jonathan Handel, Los Angeles Times, "Film school’s ties with Matthew Modine face scrutiny in heated SAG-AFTRA election," 21 Aug. 2019 Mr Modi is setting himself more firmly on the path of zealous nationalism, ideological purity and religious chauvinism. The Economist, "Modi’s revocation of Kashmir’s autonomy," 9 Aug. 2019 The pastor is Lemuel Childs (Walton Goggins), a fanatic with wild eyes and TV-anchor teeth, and his daughter Mara (Alice Englert) gets engaged to a zealous parishioner named Garret (Lewis Pullman) while secretly carrying another man’s child. Marella Gayla, BostonGlobe.com, "In ‘Them That Follow,’ there will be blood," 7 Aug. 2019 Absent any evidence, a boy is still dead and an innocent man’s livelihood was all but ruined by zealous authorities. Hank Stuever, Washington Post, "‘Who Killed Garrett Phillips?’ is a masterful study in the evils of assumptions," 22 July 2019

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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Statistics for zealous

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

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

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More Definitions for zealous

zealous

adjective

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on zealous

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with zealous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for zealous

Spanish Central: Translation of zealous

Nglish: Translation of zealous for Spanish Speakers

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