zealous

adjective
zeal·ous | \ ˈze-ləs \

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

The stories about Thursday’s resignation of the controversial leader of the Environmental Protection Agency have centered on his alleged ethical lapses and how zealous an eventual successor may be in rolling back regulations. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "No Tears in the Corn Belt for Scott Pruitt," 6 July 2018 The Communist Party has been particularly zealous in its promotion of the language. The Economist, "China is becoming more tolerant of some regional Han languages," 17 May 2018 The decision to hire Giuliani represents a potential turning point in the president's legal defense, placing a zealous and high-profile lawyer at the center of Trump's multiplying legal dilemmas. Chris Megerian, latimes.com, "Trump hires Giuliani and two other lawyers in effort to rebuild his legal team," 20 Apr. 2018 The Bestia chef’s new restaurant is an oasis in the Arts District Ori Menashe may be flat out the most zealous chef in Los Angeles. Garrett Snyder, Los Angeles Magazine, "Restaurant Review: Ori Menashe’s Bavel Pushes Mideast Cuisine to New Heights," 21 June 2018 Hashimoto and his crew were zealous in their desire to sink a warship. Tony Perry, latimes.com, "A secret mission, torpedoes, sharks and the men who survived: The story of the 'Indianapolis'," 6 July 2018 The network also posted the top 100 list for perusal (and voting) while also offering a nifty PDF print-out for zealous bookworms. Rachel King, Fortune, "Book Clubs Are Really Having a Moment Right Now," 2 July 2018 Jackie Frankel, a 47-year-old factory worker from Australia’s Mornington Peninsula, is a zealous Barefooter, as Mr. Pape’s fans are known. Amelia Lester, New York Times, "Australians Can’t Get Enough of the Barefoot Investor," 29 June 2018 People are obsessed with Davidson and Grande's zealous little 'ship. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "Westworld Is Pete Davidson & Ariana Grande — & I Am Cazzie David," 25 June 2018

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

1526, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for zealous

Last Updated

29 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for zealous

The first known use of zealous was in 1526

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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 \

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

See words that rhyme with zealous

Spanish Central: Translation of zealous

Nglish: Translation of zealous for Spanish Speakers

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