zest

noun
\ 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

Synonyms

nip, piquancy, pungency, spice, tang, zing

Antonyms

insipidity

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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

Season with lime juice, lime zest and salt to taste. Kitty Greenwald, WSJ, "The Recipe, The Legend: Bombay Bread Bar’s Black Pepper Shrimp," 12 July 2018 Add cream, hot sauce, cayenne, lemon zest, salt, chili powder, granulated garlic, paprika, black pepper, and fennel seeds and stir to combine. Bon Appetit, "Shrimp Hot Chicken-Style with Grits Croutons," 28 May 2018 Make pastry: Put flour, caster sugar, butter, salt and lemon zest in a food processor or electric mixture fitted with paddle attachment. Judy Walker, NOLA.com, "3 easy blueberry recipes: Pick 'em fresh to make sweet treats," 15 May 2018 Garnish with a sprinkle of salt, zest and a few more geranium and citrus flowers. Sarah Fritsche, San Francisco Chronicle, "Recipe: Perry Hoffman’s Berries With Rose Geranium, Citrus Flowers & Creme Fraiche," 19 Apr. 2018 When it has been smoothly combined with the butter, add the sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Redbook, "Chilled Out Desserts Recipes," 15 May 2013 Meanwhile, to make gremolata: Crush garlic, lemon zest, and salt into a paste using the side of a large knife or a mortar and pestle. Country Living, "Lamb Chops with Mint Gremolata," 17 Jan. 2013 In a bowl, combine ricotta, lemon zest, and remaining Pecorino Romano. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Roasted Broccoli and Lemony Ricotta Flatbread," 15 Feb. 2019 In bowl, combine scallions and seeded jalapeños, 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped) and lime zest, then toss with Monterey Jack cheese. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Cheesy Tex-Mex Stuffed Chicken," 21 Dec. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near zest

zero-zero

Zervanism

Zervanite

zest

zester

zest for life

zesty

Statistics for zest

Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for zest

The first known use of zest was circa 1674

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More Definitions for zest

zest

noun

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

zest

noun
\ 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with zest

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for zest

Spanish Central: Translation of zest

Nglish: Translation of zest for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of zest for Arabic Speakers

Comments on zest

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grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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