\ ˈzēl How to pronounce zeal (audio) \

Definition of zeal

: eagerness and ardent interest in pursuit of something : fervor her zeal to succeed strained her relationships

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Choose the Right Synonym for zeal

passion, fervor, ardor, enthusiasm, zeal mean intense emotion compelling action. passion applies to an emotion that is deeply stirring or ungovernable. was a slave to his passions fervor implies a warm and steady emotion. read the poem aloud with great fervor ardor suggests warm and excited feeling likely to be fitful or short-lived. the ardor of their honeymoon soon faded enthusiasm applies to lively or eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, cause, or activity. never showed much enthusiasm for sports zeal implies energetic and unflagging pursuit of an aim or devotion to a cause. preaches with fanatical zeal

Examples of zeal in a Sentence

… he was uncomfortable with their lavish parties and their collector's zeal for the most expensive, most ostentatious brand names—Rolex and Prada and Farragamo. — Anne Tyler, Digging to America, 2006 In 1248, channelling his piety into crusading zeal, Louis embarked on the Seventh Crusade, against the wishes of the Pope and against the judgement of his counsellors. — Alistair Horne, Seven Ages of Paris, 2002 He showed his anatomical zeal by robbing a wayside gibbet, smuggling the bones back home and reconstructing the skeleton. — Roy Porter, The Greatest Benefit to Mankind, 1997
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Recent Examples on the Web Some stuck-at-home employees are tackling them with zeal, working overtime to turn out Instagram-worthy creations. Te-ping Chen, WSJ, "Company Talent Contests Are Back—With Trapeze Stunts and Gingerbread Skyscrapers," 22 Apr. 2021 Police chiefs and unions across the country condemned Mr. Chauvin’s actions and applauded the jury's verdict, but not always with the same zeal or for the same reasons. New York Times, "Chauvin Verdict Brings the Police Relief and Some Resentment," 21 Apr. 2021 But from his very earliest years, Levine approached music with a zeal that bordered on obsession. David Lyman, The Enquirer, "From Cincinnati to the world, late maestro James Levine's impact on music was sweeping," 18 Mar. 2021 There was also backlash against international adoption, especially as Christian communities in particular adopted in large numbers, sometimes with a religious zeal that raised suspicions about their motives. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘We’re not projects’: Transracial adoptees insist on being seen," 1 Dec. 2020 Leading with purpose channels enthusiasm and zeal into an intense energy and drive. Brent Gleeson, Forbes, "Leading With Purpose: How To Engage Others With Passion And Focus," 8 Apr. 2021 Still others have sought to prove their zeal by hurling Maoist-era abuse. The Economist, "Chaguan China is betting that the West is in irreversible decline," 31 Mar. 2021 Writing with zeal and urgency, Stone argues for a stronger legal system, for rape kits on police shelves to be processed, for better training for teachers and pediatricians. Washington Post, "The Beauty of Living Twice," 29 Mar. 2021 The loss of American visitors, armed with their strong dollars and consuming zeal, has buffeted popular destinations such as Montreal, Quebec City and Vancouver, already reeling from a debilitating pandemic. Dan Bilefsky, Star Tribune, "Canada misses American tourist money, but sees some upside," 14 Feb. 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for zeal

Middle English zele, from Late Latin zelus, from Greek zēlos

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Learn More about zeal

Time Traveler for zeal

Time Traveler

The first known use of zeal was in the 14th century

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Statistics for zeal

Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Zeal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zeal. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for zeal



English Language Learners Definition of zeal

: a strong feeling of interest and enthusiasm that makes someone very eager or determined to do something


\ ˈzēl How to pronounce zeal (audio) \

Kids Definition of zeal

: eager desire to get something done or see something succeed Feeling better, she attacked her homework with renewed zeal.— Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy

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More from Merriam-Webster on zeal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for zeal

Nglish: Translation of zeal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of zeal for Arabic Speakers

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