Alternative formsEdit


From Ancient Greek ζῆλος (zêlos, zeal, jealousy), from ζηλόω (zēlóō, to emulate, to be jealous). Doublet of jealous.


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈzɛl.əs/
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  • Rhymes: -ɛləs
  • Hyphenation: zeal‧ous


zealous (comparative more zealous, superlative most zealous)

  1. Full of zeal; ardent, fervent; exhibiting enthusiasm or strong passion.
    • 1791, James Boswell, “(please specify the year)”, in The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. [], London: [] Henry Baldwin, for Charles Dilly, [], →OCLC:
      Johnson was truly zealous for the success of "The Adventurer;" and very soon after his engaging in it, he wrote the following letter:
    • 1896, Andrew Dickson White, A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, 2004 edition, page 122:
      Doubtless many will exclaim against the Roman Catholic Church for this; but the simple truth is that Protestantism was no less zealous against the new scientific doctrine.
    • 1940, Foster Rhea Dulles, America Learns to Play: A history of popular recreation, 1607-1940, page 61:
      [] and there were few more zealous dancers at the fashionable balls in the Raleigh Tavern at Williamsburg.
    • 2011 April 4, “Newt Gingrich”, in Time:
      Newt Gingrich [] left Congress in 1998, following GOP midterm-election losses that many blamed on his zealous pursuit of Bill Clinton's impeachment.



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