Word of the Day : January 5, 2011


verb PRAH-suh-luh-tyze


1 : to induce someone to convert to one's faith

2 : to recruit someone to join one's party, institution, or cause

Did You Know?

"Proselytize" comes from the noun "proselyte" (meaning "a new convert"), which comes from the Late Latin noun "proselytus." "Proselytus" means "stranger" or "alien resident," and comes from a similar Greek word ("prosēlytos"). When "proselytize" entered English in the 17th century, it had a distinctly religious connotation and meant simply "to recruit religious converts." This meaning is still common, but today one can also proselytize in a broader sense -- recruiting converts to one's political party or pet cause, for example.


Eliza is a staunch environmentalist who always feels the need to proselytize to anyone who doesn't recycle or drive a hybrid automobile.

"There is also no denying that in some of its iterations, the pacifism that [John] Lennon championed can seem truly beautiful. So long as the world is plagued by hate and war, people are going to look fondly upon those who proselytize for peace and love." -- From an article by John McMillian in the Boston Globe, December 5, 2010

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