See more synonyms for zest on Thesaurus.com
  1. keen relish; hearty enjoyment; gusto.
  2. an agreeable or piquant flavor imparted to something.
  3. anything added to impart flavor, enhance one's appreciation, etc.
  4. piquancy; interest; charm.
  5. liveliness or energy; animating spirit.
  6. the peel, especially the thin outer peel, of a citrus fruit used for flavoring: lemon zest.
verb (used with object)
  1. to give zest, relish, or piquancy to.

Origin of zest

1665–75; < French zest (now zeste) orange or lemon peel used for flavoring < ?
Related formszest·less, adjective

Synonyms for zest

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
4. spice, tang.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for zest

Contemporary Examples of zest

Historical Examples of zest

  • Yet now, the time having come, the zest for the feat was gone.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Gholson went with her; it was painful to see her zest for his society.

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable

  • The danger did not have any effect on him, save to, if anything, add to the zest.

    The Dare Boys of 1776

    Stephen Angus Cox

  • And he went about it with a zest that knew no flagging, with a relish that nothing could impair.

    St. Martin's Summer

    Rafael Sabatini

  • What trustier messenger could I find now that I have lent him zest by fright?

    The Tavern Knight

    Rafael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for zest


  1. invigorating or keen excitement or enjoymenta zest for living
  2. added interest, flavour, or charm; piquancyher presence gave zest to the occasion
  3. something added to give flavour or relish
  4. the peel or skin of an orange or lemon, used as flavouring in drinks, etc
  1. (tr) to give flavour, interest, or piquancy to
Derived Formszestful, adjectivezestfully, adverbzestfulness, nounzestless, adjectivezesty, adjective

Word Origin for zest

C17: from French zeste peel of citrus fruits used as flavouring, of unknown origin
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 zest

1670s, from French zeste "piece of orange or lemon peel used as a flavoring," of unknown origin. Sense of "thing that adds flavor" is 1709; that of "keen enjoyment" first attested 1791.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper