[ zoo-ahv, zwahv ]
/ zuˈɑv, zwɑv /


(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.
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.

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for zouave

British Dictionary definitions for zouave


/ (zuːˈɑːv, zwɑːv) /


(formerly) a member of a body of French infantry composed of Algerian recruits noted for their dash, hardiness, and colourful uniforms
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

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper