[ zel-uht ]
/ ˈzɛl ət /
Save This Word!


a person who shows zeal.
an excessively zealous person; fanatic.
(initial capital letter) a member of a radical, warlike, ardently patriotic group of Jews in Judea, particularly prominent from a.d. 69 to 81, advocating the violent overthrow of Roman rule and vigorously resisting the efforts of the Romans and their supporters to heathenize the Jews.



Apostrophes can be tricky; prove you know the difference between it’s and its in this crafty quiz!
Question 1 of 12
On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.

Origin of zealot

First recorded in 1400–50; earlier zelote from Late Latin zēlōtēs, from Greek zēlṓtēs, equivalent to zēlō- (variant stem of zēloûn “to be zealous”; see zeal) + -tēs agent suffix
2. See fanatic.
un·der·zeal·ot, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for zealot (1 of 2)

/ (ˈzɛlət) /


an immoderate, fanatical, or extremely zealous adherent to a cause, esp a religious one
C16: from Late Latin zēlōtēs, from Greek, from zēloun to be zealous, from zēlos zeal

British Dictionary definitions for zealot (2 of 2)

/ (ˈzɛlət) /


any of the members of an extreme Jewish sect or political party that resisted all aspects of Roman rule in Palestine in the 1st century ad
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Learn A New Word Right Now!