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
Did You Know?
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.
Healthy and active as a senior citizen, Richard had a zest for life, a desire to travel and see the world, and a perpetual interest in trying new things.
"Basically, chocolate powder gets sprinkled on top of your cappuccino. It may not seem like much, but the sugary bitterness from the chocolate adds zest to the beverage." — Jean Trinh, The Los Angeles Magazine, 24 June 2016
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Fill in the blanks to create an adjective that can mean "lacking zest": l _ _ _a _ a _ s _ c _ l.VIEW THE ANSWER
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