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[zel-uh t] /ˈzɛl ət/
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.
Origin of zealot
1530-40; earlier zelote < Late Latin zēlōtēs < Greek zēlṓtēs, equivalent to zēlō- (variant stem of zēloûn to be zealous; see zeal) + -tēs agent suffix
Related forms
underzealot, noun
2. extremist, crank, bigot. See fanatic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for zealot
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In his light-grey eyes there shone that same indomitable ardour of the zealot which had shone in Catherine's.

    The Lamp of Fate Margaret Pedler
  • But thrice woe to the artisan who makes himself the zealot of the Dogma!

    The Parisians, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • Even Milton, zealot though he be, is esteemed for his manner rather than for his matter.

    Romance Walter Raleigh
  • The old man's voice was again the rapt and fiery utterance of the zealot.

    The Roof Tree Charles Neville Buck
  • He lacked the zealot's conviction of his unique importance, yet one must be such a zealot to give a message effectively.

    The Seeker Harry Leon Wilson
British Dictionary definitions for zealot


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


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
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Word Origin and History for zealot

c.1300, "member of a militant 1st century Jewish sect which fiercely resisted the Romans in Palestine," from Late Latin Zelotes, from Greek zelotes "one who is a zealous follower," from zeloun "to be zealous," from zelos "zeal" (see zeal). Extended sense of "a fanatical enthusiast" first recorded 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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