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EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Middle English zele, from Old French zel, from Late Latin zēlus, from Ancient Greek ζῆλος (zêlos, zeal, jealousy), from ζηλόω (zēlóō, to emulate, to be jealous). Related to jealous.

PronunciationEdit

  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ziːl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːl

NounEdit

zeal (countable and uncountable, plural zeals)

  1. The fervour or tireless devotion for a person, cause, or ideal and determination in its furtherance; diligent enthusiasm; powerful interest.
    She extols the virtues of veganism with missionary zeal.
    Synonyms: ardour, eagerness, enthusiasm, intensity, passion
    Antonym: apathy
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Romans 10.2,[1]
      [] I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
    • 1687, John Dryden, The Hind and the Panther, London: Jacob Tonson, Part 3, p. 96,[2]
      Zeal, the blind conductor of the will
    • 1779, David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Part 12, pp. 143-144,[3]
      [] the highest zeal in religion and the deepest hypocrisy, so far from being inconsistent, are often or commonly united in the same individual character.
    • 1815, Jane Austen, Emma, London: John Murray, Volume 1, Chapter 14, p. 250,[4]
      [He] would begin admiring her drawings with so much zeal and so little knowledge as seemed terribly like a would-be lover,
    • 1962, Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Chapter 15, p. 248,[5]
      The stockman’s zeal for eliminating the coyote has resulted in plagues of field mice, which the coyote formerly controlled.
  2. (obsolete) A person who exhibits such fervour or tireless devotion.
    Synonym: zealot
    • 1614, Ben Jonson, Bartholomew Fair, London: Robert Allot, Act V, Scene 5, p. 85,[6]
      [] like a malicious purblinde zeale as thou art!
    • 1642, Thomas Browne, Religio Medici, London: Andrew Crooke, p. 5,[7]
      [] there are questionlesse both in Greeke, Roman and Africa Churches, solemnities, and ceremonies, whereof the wiser zeales doe make a Christian use, and stand condemned by us;
  3. The collective noun for a group of zebras.
    Synonyms: dazzle, herd
    • 2012, Alex Kuskowski, Zeal of Zebras: Animal Groups on an African Safari, →ISBN, page 8:
      A zeal of zebras confuses predators. Each zebra has a different set of stripes.

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