Webster's Dictionary, 1913

Search Webster
Word starts with Word or meaning contains
Zeal (zēl) noun [ French zèle ; confer Portuguese & Italian zelo , Spanish zelo , celo ; from Latin zelus , Greek ..., probably akin to ... to boil. Confer Yeast , Jealous .]


1. Passionate ardor in the pursuit of anything; eagerness in favor of a person or cause; ardent and active interest; engagedness; enthusiasm; fervor. "Ambition varnished o'er with zeal ." Milton. " Zeal , the blind conductor of the will." Dryden. " Zeal's never-dying fire." Keble.

I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
Rom. x. 2.

A zeal for liberty is sometimes an eagerness to subvert with little care what shall be established.
Johnson.

2. A zealot. [ Obsolete] B. Jonson.

Zeal intransitive verb To be zealous. [ Obsolete & R.] Bacon.

Zealant noun One who is zealous; a zealot; an enthusiast. [ Obsolete]

To certain zealants , all speech of pacification is odious.
Bacon.

Zealed adjective Full of zeal; characterized by zeal. [ Obsolete] " Zealed religion." Beau. & Fl.

Zealful adjective Full of zeal. [ R.] Sylvester.

Zealless adjective Wanting zeal. Hammond.

Zealot noun [ French zélote , Latin zelotes , Greek .... See Zeal .] One who is zealous; one who engages warmly in any cause, and pursues his object with earnestness and ardor; especially, one who is overzealous, or carried away by his zeal; one absorbed in devotion to anything; an enthusiast; a fanatical partisan.

Zealots for the one [ tradition] were in hostile array against zealots for the other.
Sir J. Stephen.

In Ayrshire, Clydesdale, Nithisdale, Annandale, every parish was visited by these turbulent zealots .
Macaulay.

Zealotical adjective Like, or suitable to, a zealot; ardently zealous. [ R.] Strype.

Zealotism noun The character or conduct of a zealot; zealotry.

Zealotist noun A zealot. [ Obsolete] Howell.

Zealotry noun The character and behavior of a zealot; excess of zeal; fanatical devotion to a cause.

Enthusiasm, visionariness, seems the tendency of the German; zeal, zealotry , of the English; fanaticism, of the French.
Coleridge.

Zealous adjective [ Late Latin zelosus . See Zeal .]


1. Filled with, or characterized by, zeal; warmly engaged, or ardent, in behalf of an object.

He may be zealous in the salvation of souls.
Law.

2. Filled with religious zeal. [ Obsolete] Shak.

-- Zeal"ous*ly , adverb -- Zeal"ous*ness , noun

Zebec noun (Nautical) See Xebec .

Zebra noun [ Portuguese zebra ; confer Spanish cebra ; probably from a native African name.] (Zoology) Either one of two species of South African wild horses remarkable for having the body white or yellowish white, and conspicuously marked with dark brown or brackish bands.

» The true or mountain zebra ( Equus, or Asinus, zebra ) is nearly white, and the bands which cover the body and legs are glossy black. Its tail has a tuft of black hair at the tip. It inhabits the mountains of Central and Southern Africa, and is noted for its wariness and wildness, as well as for its swiftness. The second species ( Equus, or Asinus, Burchellii ), known as Burchell's zebra , and dauw , inhabits the grassy plains of South Africa, and differs from the preceding in not having dark bands on the legs, while those on the body are more irregular. It has a long tail, covered with long white flowing hair.

Zebra caterpillar , the larva of an American noctuid moth ( Mamestra picta ). It is light yellow, with a broad black stripe on the back and one on each side; the lateral stripes are crossed with withe lines. It feeds on cabbages, beets, clover, and other cultivated plants. -- Zebra opossum , the zebra wolf. See under Wolf . -- Zebra parrakeet , an Australian grass parrakeet, often kept as a cage bird. Its upper parts are mostly pale greenish yellow, transversely barred with brownish black crescents; the under parts, rump, and upper tail coverts, are bright green; two central tail feathers and the cheek patches are blue. Called also canary parrot , scallop parrot , shell parrot , and undulated parrot . -- Zebra poison (Botany) , a poisonous tree ( Euphorbia arborea ) of the Spurge family, found in South Africa. Its milky juice is so poisonous that zebras have been killed by drinking water in which its branches had been placed, and it is also used as an arrow poison. J. Smith (Dict. Econ. Plants). -- Zebra shark . Same as Tiger shark , under Tiger . -- Zebra spider , a hunting spider. -- Zebra swallowtail , a very large North American swallow-tailed butterfly ( Iphiclides ajax ), in which the wings are yellow, barred with black; -- called also ajax . -- Zebra wolf . See under Wolf .

Zebrawood noun (a) A kind of cabinet wood having beautiful black, brown, and whitish stripes, the timber of a tropical American tree ( Connarus Guianensis ). (b) The wood of a small West Indian myrtaceous tree ( Eugenia fragrans ). (c) The wood of an East Indian tree of the genus Guettarda .

Zebrine adjective (Zoology) Pertaining to, or resembling, the zebra.

Zebrinny noun ; plural - nies A cross between a male horse and a female zebra.

Zebrula, Zebrule noun A cross between a male zebra and a female horse.

Zebu noun [ .... zébu ; of uncertain origin.] (Zoology) A bovine mammal ( Ros Indicus ) extensively domesticated in India, China, the East Indies, and East Africa. It usually has short horns, large pendulous ears, slender legs, a large dewlap, and a large, prominent hump over the shoulders; but these characters vary in different domestic breeds, which range in size from that of the common ox to that of a large mastiff.

» Some of the varieties are used as beasts of burden, and some fore for riding, while others are raised for their milk and flesh. The Brahmin bull, regarded as sacred by the Hindoos, also belongs to this species. The male is called also Indian bull , Indian ox , Madras ox , and sacred bull .

Zebub noun (Zoology) A large noxious fly of Abyssinia, which like the tsetse fly, is destructive to cattle.

Zechin noun See Sequin .

Zechstein noun [ Greek , from zeche a mine + stein a stone.] (Geol.) The upper division of the Permian (Dyas) of Europe. The prevailing rock is a magnesian limestone.

Zed noun [ French, probably through Italian zeta , from Latin zeta . See Zeta .] The letter Z ; -- called also zee , and formerly izzard . " Zed , thou unnecessary letter!" Shak.

Zedoary noun [ French zédoaire , Late Latin zedoaria ; confer Italian zedoaria , zettovario , Portuguese zedoaria , Spanish zedoaria , cedoaria ; all from Arabic & Persian zedw...r .] (Medicine) A medicinal substance obtained in the East Indies, having a fragrant smell, and a warm, bitter, aromatic taste. It is used in medicine as a stimulant.

» It is the rhizome of different species of Curcuma , esp. C. zedoaria , and comes in short, firm pieces, externally of a wrinkled gray, ash-colored appearance, but within of a brownish red color. There are two kinds, round zedoary, and long zedoary.

Zeekoe noun [ Dutch, sea cow, lake cow.] (Zoology) A hippopotamus.

Zeeman effect (Physics) The widening and duplication, triplication, etc., of spectral lines when the radiations emanate in a strong magnetic field, first observed in 1896 by P. Zeeman , a Dutch physicist, and regarded as an important confirmation of the electromagnetic theory of light.

Zehner noun [ G.] An Austrian silver coin equal to ten kreutzers, or about five cents.

Zein noun [ Confer French zéïne . See Zea .] (Chemistry) A nitrogenous substance of the nature of gluten, obtained from the seeds of Indian corn ( Zea ) as a soft, yellowish, amorphous substance. [ Formerly written zeine .]

Zeitgeist noun [ G.; zeit time + geist spirit. See Tide , noun ; Ghost , noun ] The spirit of the time; the general intellectual and moral state or temper characteristic of any period of time.

Zemindar noun Same as Zamindar .

Zemindary Zem"in*da*ri noun Same as Zamindary .

Zemni noun (Zoology) The blind mole rat ( Spalax typhlus ), native of Eastern Europe and Asia. Its eyes and ears are rudimentary, and its fur is soft and brownish, more or less tinged with gray. It constructs extensive burrows.

Zemstvo noun [ Russian , from zemlya land.] In Russia, an elective local district and provincial administrative assembly. Originally it was composed of representatives elected by the peasantry, the householders of the towns, and the landed proprietors. In the reign of Alexander III. the power of the noble landowners was increased, the peasants allowed only to elect candidates from whom the governor of the province nominated the deputy, and all acts of the zemstvo subjected to the approval of the governor. Theoretically the zemstvo has large powers relating to taxation, education, public health, etc., but practically these powers are in most cases limited to the adjustment of the state taxation.

Zenana noun [ Hind. zenāna , zanāna , from Persian zanāna , from zan woman; akin to English queen .] The part of a dwelling appropriated to women. [ India]

Zend noun [ See Zend-Avesta .] Properly, the translation and exposition in the Huzvâresh, or literary Pehlevi, language, of the Avesta, the Zoroastrian sacred writings; as commonly used, the language (an ancient Persian dialect) in which the Avesta is written.

Zend-Avesta noun [ Properly, the Avesta , or sacred text, and its zend , or interpretation, in a more modern and intelligible language. W. D. Whitney. ] The sacred writings of the ancient Persian religion, attributed to Zoroaster, but chiefly of a later date.

Zendik noun [ Arabic zandīk .] An atheist or unbeliever; -- name given in the East to those charged with disbelief of any revealed religion, or accused of magical heresies.

Zenick noun (Zoology) A South African burrowing mammal ( Suricata tetradactyla ), allied to the civets. It is grayish brown, with yellowish transverse stripes on the back. Called also suricat .

Zenik noun (Zoology) See Zenick .

Zenith noun [ Middle English senyth , Old French cenith , French zénith , Spanish zenit , cenit , abbrev. from Arabic samt-urras way of the head, vertical place; samt way, path + al the + ras head. Confer Azimuth .]


1. That point in the visible celestial hemisphere which is vertical to the spectator; the point of the heavens directly overhead; -- opposed to nadir .

From morn
To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
A summer's day; and with the setting sun
Dropped from the zenith , like a falling star.
Milton.

2. hence, figuratively, the point of culmination; the greatest height; the height of success or prosperity.

I find my zenith doth depend upon
A most auspicious star.
Shak.

This dead of midnight is the noon of thought,
And wisdom mounts her zenith with the stars.
Mrs. Barbauld.

It was during those civil troubles . . . this aspiring family reached the zenith .
Macaulay.

Zenith distance . (Astron.) See under Distance . -- Zenith sector . (Astron.) See Sector , 3. -- Zenith telescope (Geodesy) , a telescope specially designed for determining the latitude by means of any two stars which pass the meridian about the same time, and at nearly equal distances from the zenith, but on opposite sides of it. It turns both on a vertical and a horizontal axis, is provided with a graduated vertical semicircle, and a level for setting it to a given zenith distance, and with a micrometer for measuring the difference of the zenith distances of the two stars.

Zenithal adjective Of or pertaining to the zenith. "The deep zenithal blue." Tyndall.

Zeolite noun [ Greek ... to boil + -lite : confer French zéolithe .] (Min.) A term now used to designate any one of a family of minerals, hydrous silicates of alumina, with lime, soda, potash, or rarely baryta. Here are included natrolite, stilbite, analcime, chabazite, thomsonite, heulandite, and others. These species occur of secondary origin in the cavities of amygdaloid, basalt, and lava, also, less frequently, in granite and gneiss. So called because many of these species intumesce before the blowpipe.

Needle zeolite , needlestone; natrolite.

Zeolitic adjective Of or pertaining to a zeolite; consisting of, or resembling, a zeolite.

Zeolitiform adjective Having the form of a zeolite.

Zephyr noun [ Latin zephyrus , Greek ..., akin to ... darkness, the dark side, west: confer French zéphyr .] The west wind; poetically, any soft, gentle breeze. "Soft the zephyr blows." Gray.

As gentle
As zephyrs blowing below the violet.
Shak.

Zephyr cloth , a thin kind of cassimere made in Belgium; also, a waterproof fabric of wool. -- Zephyr shawl , a kind of thin, light, embroidered shawl made of worsted and cotton. -- Zephyr yarn , or worsted , a fine, soft kind of yarn or worsted, - - used for knitting and embroidery.

Zephyrus noun [ Latin See Zephyr .] The west wind, or zephyr; -- usually personified, and made the most mild and gentle of all the sylvan deities.

Mild as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes.
Milton.

Zeppelin (tsĕp`pẽ*lē"; Angl. zĕp"pe*lĭn) noun A dirigible balloon of the rigid type, consisting of a cylindrical trussed and covered frame supported by internal gas cells, and provided with means of propulsion and control. It was first successfully used by Ferdinand Count von Zeppelin.

Zequin noun See Sequin .

Zerda noun [ Of African origin.] (Zoology) The fennec.

Zeriba noun (Mil.) Same as Zareba .

Zero noun ; plural Zeros or Zeroes . [ French zéro , from Arabic çafrun , çifrun , empty, a cipher. Confer Cipher .]


1. (Arith.) A cipher; nothing; naught.

2. The point from which the graduation of a scale, as of a thermometer, commences.

» Zero in the Centigrade, or Celsius thermometer, and in the Réaumur thermometer, is at the point at which water congeals. The zero of the Fahrenheit thermometer is fixed at the point at which the mercury stands when immersed in a mixture of snow and common salt. In Wedgwood's pyrometer, the zero corresponds with 1077° on the Fahrenheit scale. See Illust. of Thermometer .

3. Fig.: The lowest point; the point of exhaustion; as, his patience had nearly reached zero .

Absolute zero . See under Absolute . -- Zero method (Physics) , a method of comparing, or measuring, forces, electric currents, etc., by so opposing them that the pointer of an indicating apparatus, or the needle of a galvanometer, remains at, or is brought to, zero, as contrasted with methods in which the deflection is observed directly; -- called also null method . -- Zero point , the point indicating zero, or the commencement of a scale or reckoning.