\ 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 In large microwave-safe bowl, use rubber spatula to toss apples, flour, lemon zest, salt, cinnamon and ½ cup sugar together. Kristine M. Kierzek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Baking a great Thanksgiving pie gets easier with these tips from the pros," 12 Nov. 2020 Transfer the Brussels sprouts to a medium bowl and add the sugar, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes, if using. Washington Post, "This whole herb-roasted chicken with Hasselback potatoes is a holiday-ready sheet-pan dinner," 10 Nov. 2020 Add egg, liqueur and zest and mix, scraping sides, until well combined. Julia O'malley, Anchorage Daily News, "Mall cookie nostalgia gets dressed up for the holidays with these white chocolate chip treats," 17 Dec. 2020 The lemon zest balanced the white and chocolate glaze and made for a perfect treat. Dallas News, "Our 13 favorite baking cookbooks of 2020," 3 Dec. 2020 With a zest for showmanship, Mr. Trump had always seemed in his element on these cornball occasions, no matter what other turmoil happened to be upending his presidency at the moment. Mark Leibovich, New York Times, "No, President Trump Did Not Pardon Himself," 24 Nov. 2020 Transfer to food processor and add arugula, Parmesan, pepitas, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Ashley Rodriguez, Woman's Day, "Seared Steak Sandwich with Arugula Pesto," 26 June 2020 Add the parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Washington Post, "Homemade, seasoned breadcrumbs add crunch and flavor to pastas, vegetables and more," 30 Oct. 2020 Use an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment to cream butter, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and sieved egg yolks on high speed until very pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Jonathan Kauffman, WSJ, "A Torte So Delicious, It’s a Special Occasion," 22 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for zest

Time Traveler

The first known use of zest was circa 1674

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Zest.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zest. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for zest


How to pronounce zest (audio)

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.

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