zest

noun \ ˈzest \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

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

zestful

play \ˈzest-fəl\ adjective

zestfully

play \ˈzest-fə-lē\ adverb

zestfulness

noun

zestless

play \ˈzest-ləs\ adjective

zest was our Word of the Day on 08/13/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of zest in a Sentence

  1. His humor added zest to the performance.

  2. His humor added a certain zest to the performance.

  3. The recipe calls for a tablespoon of lemon zest.

Recent Examples of zest from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of zest

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



ZEST Defined for English Language Learners

zest

noun

Definition of zest for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

zest

noun \ ˈzest \

Definition of zest for Students

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.

History for zest

The English word zest came from a French word zeste that means “the peel of an orange or a lemon.” Because their flavor made food more tasty and enjoyable, lemon and orange peels were used to season food. In time the word zest came to mean any quality that made life more enjoyable.



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