Definition of zealot in English:



  • 1A person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals.

    • ‘How did the respective religions allow such zealots to gain such followings?’
    • ‘Do religious zealots regularly cry ‘scum’ when they pass him by on the street?’
    • ‘Creationism often conjures visions of religious zealots who believe the book of Genesis verbatim.’
    • ‘There will never be a time for reason when religious zealots believe they have control of this country.’
    • ‘The conversation was taking on the kind of circularity I've experienced in arguments with religious zealots.’
    • ‘Reams of unsolicited e-mail are generated daily by religious zealots.’
    • ‘People said he didn't support faith, an interesting claim since Democrats labeled him a religious zealot.’
    • ‘No nation has freedom when it is run by religious zealots.’
    • ‘The Mater zealots have created an ideal opportunity for change.’
    • ‘The only people who cite the Columbia study are kooks and religious zealots.’
    • ‘He says there have always been religious zealots, but modern technology has given them a lethal capacity.’
    • ‘The Religious zealot vehemently opposes curiosity or concern for anyone outside their circle.’
    • ‘The partisan crowd was waiting silently in anticipation as religious zealots would for a messiah.’
    • ‘Indeed through history there have been religious wars where zealots have perpetrated atrocities in the name of their religion.’
    • ‘When he talks about the case, he sounds less like a zealous advocate than a political zealot.’
    • ‘Does anybody else see the logic error in stating that religious zealots wanted to create a secular nation?’
    • ‘The level of delusion here eclipses that of the most fanatical of religious zealots.’
    • ‘Both appear to agree that religious zealots should be regarded as the authentic voice of their faith.’
    • ‘The religious zealots see rai music as the apotheosis of a secular culture they consider lewd and impious.’
    • ‘I can't get the image of Glen and several religious zealots on the tire swing out of my mind.’
    fanatic, enthusiast, extremist, radical, young turk, diehard, activist, militant
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1historical A member of an ancient Jewish sect aiming at a world Jewish theocracy and resisting the Romans until AD 70.
      • ‘His friend Judas urges him to join the cause of the Zealots, rebels against Roman occupation.’
      • ‘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 Zealots were leading members of the revolt against Rome in 66-70 AD and at Masada they committed suicide rather than surrender to the Roman Tenth Legion.’
      • ‘The Jewish Zealots at Massada committed suicide rather than be defeated and taken into slavery by the Romans.’
      • ‘One can think of the 1st century situation in Palestine where Jewish Zealots would publicly slit the throats of Romans and their collaborators.’


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).