\ 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 zest (audio) \ adjective
zestfully \ ˈzest-​fə-​lē How to pronounce zest (audio) \ adverb
zestfulness noun
zestless \ ˈzest-​ləs How to pronounce zest (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 Whisk together lemon zest and juice, sumac, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a bowl. Kate Merker, Country Living, "Eggplant Burgers with Yogurt-Feta Sauce and Quick Pickled Cucumbers," 7 May 2021 In large bowl, combine butter, lemon zest and juice, garlic, honey, chile, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Kate Merker, Good Housekeeping, "Grilled Broccoli," 29 Apr. 2021 In a medium bowl, mix together the parsley, scallions, lemon zest and juice, the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil, and a pinch of salt. BostonGlobe.com, "Recipes: A weeknight meal that makes the most of classic Middle Eastern ingredients," 7 Apr. 2021 Place cherries, lemon zest, and sugar in a saucepan on medium high heat until liquid is reduced by ¼. Alastair Gale, WSJ, "The U.S. Navy’s Not-So-Secret Recipes for Cheesecake and ‘Ronnie Burgers’," 29 Apr. 2021 Finishes with a spicy zest that is robust, but never overwhelming. Jason O'bryan, Robb Report, "The 21 Best Tequilas You Can Buy Right Now," 27 Apr. 2021 Add dill, sea salt, almonds, and lemon zest and juice. Dallas News, "6 creative pesto recipes, from mushroom and truffle oil to citrus and mint," 16 Apr. 2021 The lemony vinaigrette takes advantage of the fragrant citrus zest and juice, and is mellowed out by a touch of honey, which echoes the sweetness of the peas. Washington Post, "Loaded with two types of peas, radishes and mint, this lemony salad sings spring," 15 Apr. 2021 Stir in the tarragon and lemon zest and season to taste with salt and pepper. Star Tribune, "Sunday supper: Crab Linguine With Herbed Bread Crumbs," 9 Apr. 2021

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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Last Updated

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Zest.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zest. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for zest



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.

More from Merriam-Webster on zest

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for zest

Nglish: Translation of zest for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of zest for Arabic Speakers

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