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

On NetEase Music, another popular streaming service, censors appear to have been a little less zealous. S.r. | Shanghai, The Economist, "Do you hear the people sing? Not in China," 14 June 2019 Back in Glendale's early days, when men in town worked at the railroad or the sugar beet factory, a growing group of zealous, community-minded women got the idea to build a gathering place. Jen Fifield, azcentral, "Other similar buildings sold or demolished, this historic Glendale women's club was rebuilt," 12 June 2019 On the part of the more zealous American patriots like Thomas Jefferson and Noah Webster, the goal was national unity fostered by a conviction that Americans now ought to own and possess their own language. Time, "Americans and Brits Have Been Fighting Over the English Language for Centuries. Here’s How It Started," 11 June 2019 Other movies set in high school have clearer lessons: The Breakfast Club kids are forced to reconsider stereotypes and forge alliances to defeat the zealous principal determined to ruin their weekend. Kristen Evans, The New Republic, "Booksmart Deserved Better," 5 June 2019 And throughout, presenters referenced Apple’s zealous protection of our privacy. ... Christopher Mims, WSJ, "Apple Pitches Values Along With Credit Card, News and TV Plus—but Will People Buy It?," 26 Mar. 2019 For the past seven years, in the northeast wedge of Syria abutting Turkey, Iraq and Islamic State, a band of zealous Kurds have built an unrecognized state called Rojava and tried to keep it from being overrun. Graeme Wood, WSJ, "‘Long Shot’ Review: Triggering a Revolution," 18 Feb. 2019 Down that road lies a world in which only the most zealous sign up for public service. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Liberal hostility toward Trump aides could galvanize the GOP base," 25 June 2018 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

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

20 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for zealous

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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