• synonyms


[zoo-ahv, zwahv]
  1. (sometimes lowercase) one of a former body of infantry in the French army, composed originally of Algerians, distinguished for their dash, hardiness, and picturesque uniform.
  2. a member of any body of soldiers adopting a similar dress and drill, especially a soldier serving in any of certain volunteer regiments in the American Civil War.
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Origin of Zouave

1820–30; < French < Arabic zawāwah, probably < Berber igowawen, the name of a Berber group
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for zouave

Historical Examples of zouave

  • A zouave, for whom there was none left, sobbed like a child in his disappointment.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • "Seen and heard the Zouave," rejoined the young girl, laughing.

  • "Vicomte, I did not say that," cried the Zouave, embarrassed.

  • A strange mishap was that which befell the gunboat "Zouave."

  • She heard the music of a bugle, and wished she were a Zouave safe in barracks.

British Dictionary definitions for zouave


  1. (formerly) a member of a body of French infantry composed of Algerian recruits noted for their dash, hardiness, and colourful uniforms
  2. a member of any body of soldiers wearing a similar uniform or otherwise modelled on the French Zouaves, esp a volunteer in such a unit of the Union Army in the American Civil War
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Word Origin for Zouave

C19: from French, from Zwāwa, tribal name in Algeria
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 zouave


1848, from French, from Arabic Zwawa, from Berber Igawawaen, name of a Kabyle tribe in Algeria, from which the French light infantry troops of that name were originally recruited in 1831.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper