\ ˈzest How to pronounce zest (audio) \

Definition of zest

1 : a piece of the peel of a citrus fruit (such as an orange or lemon) used as flavoring
2 : an enjoyably exciting quality : piquancy adds zest to the performance
3 : keen enjoyment : relish, gusto has a zest for living

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Other Words from zest

zestful \ ˈzest-​fəl How to pronounce zestful (audio) \ adjective
zestfully \ ˈzest-​fə-​lē How to pronounce zestfully (audio) \ adverb
zestfulness noun
zestless \ ˈzest-​ləs How to pronounce zestless (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for zest



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Zest and Cooking

Zest can spice up your life—fitting for a word that we learned from the world of cooking. We borrowed the term from a source that has given English speakers many culinary delights: French cuisine. The French used the form zest (nowadays they spell it zeste) to refer to orange or lemon peel used to flavor food or drinks. English speakers developed a taste for the fruit flavoring and adopted the term zest in the late 1600s. By the early 1700s, they had started using the word to refer to any quality that adds enjoyment to something in the same way that the zest of an orange or lemon adds flavor to food.

Examples of zest in a Sentence

His humor added zest to the performance. His humor added a certain zest to the performance. The recipe calls for a tablespoon of lemon zest.
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Recent Examples on the Web Using walnuts, garlic, basil leaves, lemon zest, Parmesan, olive oil and lemon juice will create a beautiful green color and a thick, paste-like texture. Dallas News, "Brunch at home with this easy heirloom tomato tart recipe," 7 May 2020 Cosmopolitan Ingredients: 45mL lemon vodka 15mL triple sec 30mL cranberry juice 10mL lime juice ice orange zest, or lime wedge on the rim of the glass for garnish Directions: Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Shacamree Gowdy, Houston Chronicle, "These 5 quarantini recipes lets you enjoy happy hour while maintaining social distancing," 28 Apr. 2020 The dough is stretched into an oblong shape and topped with combinations like mushroom confit with cashew mozzarella, green garlic, lemon zest, herb oil, crispy capers and seaweed. Janelle Bitker, SFChronicle.com, "San Francisco gets a vegan brewpub with Above Ground," 27 Apr. 2020 Lemon zest, fresno chili pepper, and fresh mint are added to the mixture next, along with a good drizzle of olive oil. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Grilled Sweet Potatoes With Lemon-Herb Sauce," 20 Apr. 2020 Slather the frosting over the cake, then grate a little lime zest over the top. Los Angeles Times, "How to Boil Water: Carrot cake," 16 Apr. 2020 The gin and tonic, for example, gets dressed up with epazote herb, Mexican lime zest, Aztec Rud Bitters, and dehydrated hibiscus flower. Jen Murphy, Condé Nast Traveler, "Downtown San José del Cabo Is Luring Visitors Out of the Resorts," 27 Feb. 2020 In a bowl, combine the shrimp, coconut milk, lime zest, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. NBC News, "A better, healthier way to make coconut shrimp," 14 Jan. 2020 Twist the citrus zest over the drink, then drop it in. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "The Perfect Thanksgiving Cocktail Is the Boulevardier," 25 Nov. 2019

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

circa 1674, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for zest

obsolete French (now zeste), orange or lemon peel (used as flavoring)

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Time Traveler for zest

Time Traveler

The first known use of zest was circa 1674

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Statistics for zest

Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Zest.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zest. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for zest


How to pronounce zest (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of zest

: lively excitement : a feeling of enjoyment and enthusiasm
: a lively quality that increases enjoyment, excitement, or energy
: small pieces of the skin of a lemon, orange, or lime that are used to flavor food


\ ˈzest How to pronounce zest (audio) \

Kids Definition of zest

1 : a piece of the peel of a citrus fruit (as an orange or lemon) used to flavor foods
2 : an enjoyable or exciting quality Her humor added zest to the presentation.
3 : keen enjoyment They ate with zest.

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More from Merriam-Webster on zest

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for zest

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with zest

Spanish Central: Translation of zest

Nglish: Translation of zest for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of zest for Arabic Speakers

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