Word: zealous

Pronunciation: ZE-ləs

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: having or showing great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


“Zealous” is another one of those words that I would see or hear often but always forget what it meant. I’m sure it’s come up a few times in my vocabulary test prep material, though to really memorize it, I suppose I’d have to make a habit of incorporating it in my own writing. It wouldn’t be too hard either; I have written quite a few characters who were passionate about a particular cause.

A “zealous” person is someone who demonstrates great enthusiasm for a chosen goal. Derived from the noun “zeal”, the word traces back through the Latin noun zelus to the Ancient Greek noun zêlos, both of which mean “zeal” or “jealousy”. The latter noun comes from the verb zēlóō, meaning “to emulate” or “to be jealous”.

With such similar spellings, I’m sure I must have confused the word “zealous” with the word “jealous” at least once before. Interestingly enough, despite having different meanings, they have the same etymological origin, so that may serve as a reminder for writers seeking words to describe passion in their characters. If you tend to write characters who show great emotion for a given objective, then “zealous” is a good word to keep on your shortlist. Write with passion, and your readers will see how “zealous” you are about your craft!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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