\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Welch’s successor, Jeff Immelt, continued to preach the gospel of Six Sigma, but without the same missionary zeal of its early days. Oliver Staley, Quartz at Work, "Whatever happened to Six Sigma?," 3 Sep. 2019 Reuters David Koch never lost his political zeal, though. Philip Elliott, Time, "David Koch's Millions Remade the Republican Party. He Didn't Like the Results," 23 Aug. 2019 Shanghai is channeling the same zeal that drove its emergence as a financial center into a more prosaic endeavor: garbage management. Anna Fifield, Washington Post, "What’s that hairy crab doing in your recycling? Shanghai residents struggle with new trash rules.," 29 July 2019 His competitive zeal on the field is off the chart. Scott Patsko, cleveland.com, "Everything Freddie Kitchens and John Dorsey said at Wednesday’s pre-training camp press conference," 24 July 2019 Mary brought the same zeal and commitment serving as Commissioner of Consumer Protection under the Grasso and O'Neill administrations. courant.com, "Mary Mazurek Heslin," 23 June 2019 More realistically, the news means that Chinese president Xi Jinping — whose government has embraced political repression with the same zeal as rapacious state capitalism — is teeing himself to become a dictator for life. Will Bunch, Philly.com, "Xi whiz! Trump is a beacon of hope to world's emerging dictators | Will Bunch," 27 Feb. 2018 The Kremlin has lavished support and publicity on the new breed, highlighting their zeal to reform local bureaucracies and repair potholed roads and dilapidated housing. Henry Meyer, Bloomberg.com, "Putin Is Grooming a New Generation to Preserve His Legacy," 1 Feb. 2018 Although many administrations have relied on sanctions, Trump has used them with zeal at a cost to the U.S., said Liz Rosenberg, the director of the Energy, Economics and Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. Matthew Lee, The Denver Post, "Trump wields sanctions hammer; experts wonder to what end," 18 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about zeal

Statistics for zeal

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for zeal

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on zeal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with zeal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for zeal

Spanish Central: Translation of zeal

Nglish: Translation of zeal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of zeal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on zeal

What made you want to look up zeal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealment of treason or felony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!