\ 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

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 Toss together cucumbers, green beans, lemon zest and juice, and dill in a bowl. Kate Merker, Country Living, 7 May 2021 Season with a third of the lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste. Kitty Greenwald, WSJ, 21 Oct. 2021 Combine cranberries, juice, sugar, zest, thyme, and salt in a medium saucepan. Charlyne Mattox, Country Living, 12 Oct. 2021 Michael Brantley jumped all over a first-pitch fastball, pummeling it for a 3-run double that sucked the remaining faith, zest and volume from the Fenway fans. BostonGlobe.com, 20 Oct. 2021 Despite the tragedies, Dixon has a zest for life that is rivaled by few. Edward Lee, baltimoresun.com, 31 Aug. 2021 There are notes of bread toast, a touch of wet stone minerality, some citrus zest and a bit of vanilla. Joseph V Micallef, Forbes, 1 Oct. 2021 Add egg and egg yolk and vanilla and lemon zest, and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Kate Krader, Fortune, 26 Sep. 2021 Add the cooked pork, olives, lemon zest and 1 cup water, and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has evaporated, the vegetables and fruit are tender and the pork is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Sep. 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

22 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Zest.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zest. Accessed 28 Nov. 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

Nglish: Translation of zest for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of zest for Arabic Speakers


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