\ˈzest \

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 \ adjective
zestfully \ˈzest-fə-lē \ adverb
zestfulness noun
zestless \ˈzest-ləs \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for zest


nip, piquancy, pungency, spice, tang, zing



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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

In a small sauce pan, combine the water, chickpea flour and lemon zest. Cincinnati.com, "A gluten-free recipe for big fans of ... gluten," 12 July 2018 Add the vanilla and lemon zest and beat 1 more minute; set aside. Susan Selasky, charlotteobserver, "Celebrate the Fourth with minimal fuss, maximum flavor," 3 July 2018 On the one hand Schmidt acts like skating rays of vitamin D, a no-bad-days defenseman with all the body language and general life zest of a Muppet baby. Alex Prewitt, SI.com, "From College Hockey to Vegas, the Journey of Haula and Schmidt Could Include the Stanley Cup," 25 May 2018 Mix wet ingredients: Place eggs, milk, butter, orange zest and vanilla into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure the lid. Debbi Snook, cleveland.com, "Almond Waffles With Raspberry Sauce from Vitamix (photo, recipes)," 9 May 2018 The recipe is a straight forward taart (Dutch for tart) dough: flour, unsalted butter, lemon zest, salt and sugar. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "A Year of Pie: In Her New Taartwork Cookbook, Brittany Bennett Shares Recipes for Each Season," 6 Mar. 2018 Using an electric mixer, whisk together egg yolks, butter, lemon zest, and extracts. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "King Cake," 12 Jan. 2018 With mixer on medium-high speed, beat granulated sugar, butter and lemon zest until creamy. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Lemony Ricotta Pillows," 3 Dec. 2015 In a medium-sized bowl, use a a handheld mixer to cream 1/2 stick butter and lemon zest/sugar mixture. Brooke Parkhurst, Redbook, "5 Pies in a Jar to Make This Fall," 1 Oct. 2012

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






zest for life


Phrases Related to zest

zest for life

Statistics for zest

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for zest

The first known use of zest was circa 1674

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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 \

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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Comments on zest

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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