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

Fold in reserved lemon zest and serve over cheesecake. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Strawberry Coconut-Crust Cheesecake," 11 Mar. 2019 Add snap peas to skillet, season with ¼ tsp each salt and pepper, and toss to combine, then toss with lemon zest and remaining juice. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Lemon-Thyme Chicken with Spring Sauté," 7 Mar. 2019 Finely grate zest of remaining lemon into a food processor and squeeze in 3 Tbsp juice. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Salmon with Creamy Feta Cucumbers," 29 Apr. 2019 Make the stir-fry: In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond butter, garlic, tamari, lime zest and juice, and 1⁄4 cup of water. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "Sakara Brings Healthy Eating Home With Their New Made-for-Instagram Cookbook," 19 Mar. 2019 Add lemon zest and juice and 2 tablespoons oil; mash. Taylor Murray, Country Living, "Strip Steak With Lemon Mashed Potatoes," 15 Mar. 2019 Meanwhile, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Egg Salad Blini Bites," 8 Mar. 2019 Zest and juice the lemons, and combine zest and juice with the rest of the dressing ingredients. Catherine M. Allchin, The Seattle Times, "Meals at Stowel Lake Farm celebrate its organic vegetable garden, and its intergenerational community," 5 Feb. 2019 Heat oil in a large skillet on medium, then stir in garlic and lemon zest until beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Redbook Test Kitchen, Redbook, "Garlicky Fiesta Shrimp," 20 Aug. 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

26 May 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

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