Definition of zealot in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈzelət/


1A person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals.
Example sentences
  • He says there have always been religious zealots, but modern technology has given them a lethal capacity.
  • The level of delusion here eclipses that of the most fanatical of religious zealots.
  • Creationism often conjures visions of religious zealots who believe the book of Genesis verbatim.
fanatic, enthusiast, extremist, radical, young Turk, diehard, true believer, activist, militant;
bigot, dogmatist, sectarian, partisan
informal fiend, maniac, ultra, nut
eager beaver
1.1 (Zealot) historical A member of an ancient Jewish sect aiming at a world Jewish theocracy and resisting the Romans until ad 70.
Example sentences
  • One can think of the 1st century situation in Palestine where Jewish Zealots would publicly slit the throats of Romans and their collaborators.
  • After Herod's death in 4 BC, Masada was captured by the Romans, but in ad 66 Jewish Zealots took it by surprise and occupied it.
  • The Jewish Zealots at Massada committed suicide rather than be defeated and taken into slavery by the Romans.


Mid 16th century (in the sense 'member of an ancient Jewish sect'): via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek zēlōtēs, from zēloun 'be jealous', from zēlos (see zeal).

Words that rhyme with zealot

appellate, Helot, prelate
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