• synonyms


  1. fervor for a person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence; ardor.
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Origin of zeal

1350–1400; Middle English zele < Late Latin zēlus < Greek zêlos
Related formszeal·less, adjectiveun·der·zeal, noun



Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for zeals

Historical Examples

  • Yes, zeal without knowledge, I said—like most other zeals—if there were no objections that struck him at once, there were none.

    Clarissa, Volume 4 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • These two zeals are alike in externals, but altogether unlike in internals, 363.

  • Lacius wishes that Timon would give him and the rest an opportunity of expressing some part of their zeals.

British Dictionary definitions for zeals


  1. fervent or enthusiastic devotion, often extreme or fanatical in nature, as to a religious movement, political cause, ideal, or aspiration
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Word Origin

C14: from Late Latin zēlus, from Greek zēlos
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

Word Origin and History for zeals



late 14c., from Late Latin zelus "zeal, emulation" (source of Old French zel, Italian zelo, Spanish celo), a Church word, from Greek zelos "zeal, ardor, jealousy," which is of uncertain origin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper