zelo-, zel-; zeal-

(Greek > Latin: ardor, fervor; jealousy, jealous)

Etymologically, jealousy and zeal came from the same source. Both originally came from Greek zelos. This passed into post-classical Latin as zelus, which later produced the adjective zelosus. Old French incorporated this as gelos or jelous and passed it on to English.

The Greek word denoted "jealousy" and "fervor, enthusiasm", and it is this strand of meaning that has come down to us as jealous. Jalousie was the French equivalent of jealousy. Most of the words that became distinctive terms for "jealousy" were originally used in a good sense of "zeal" and "emulation".

jealous (formerly zealous) (adjective)
1. Fearful or wary of being supplanted; apprehensive of losing affection or position.
2. Resentful or bitter in rivalry; envious: jealous of the success of others.
3. Having to do with or arising from feelings of envy, apprehension, or bitterness: jealous thoughts.
4. Vigilant in guarding something: "We are jealous of our family name."
5. Intolerant of disloyalty or infidelity; autocratic.
6. Etymology: from Old French gelos from 12th century, French jaloux; from Late Latin zelosus, from zelus, "zeal"; from Greek zelos; sometimes "jealousy" but more often in a sense of "emulation, rivalry", or "zeal".
jealously, more jealously, most jealously (adverb forms)
1. In an envious manner or feeling resentful of someone who apparently has advantages, materials, etc. that are not available to the person: "He jealously resents all of the traveling that his neighbor can do because she obviously has more money."
2. A reference to guarding something very carefully because a person doesn't want anyone else to have it: "She jealously guards her financial gains."
jealousness (s) (noun)
1. Feeling bitter and unhappy because of another's advantages, possessions, or luck.
2. Feeling suspicious about a rival's or competitor's influence, especially in regard to a loved one.
jealous-type paranoia (s), jealous-type paranoias (pl) (noun forms)
The unfounded conviction that the patient's spouse or lover is unfaithful: "Such jealous-type paranoias can sometimes be so overwhelming that they make the relationships of such patients impossible."
jealousy (s), jealousies (pl) (noun forms)
1. Resentment against a rival because of his or her success or advantage.
2. Mental uneasiness because of suspicion or fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness, etc., as in love or aims.
miszealous (adjective)
1. Mistakenly devoted to a cause.
2. Moved to action by a false eagerness.
overzealous (adjective)
1. Marked by excessive enthusiasm for and an intense devotion to a cause or idea; too enthusiastic.
2. Trying to do something with such excessive enthusiasm that it causes problems: "The overzealous movie fans created traffic jams in the downtown area."
zeal (s), zeals (pl) (noun forms)
1. Enthusiastic devotion to a cause, ideal, or goal and tireless diligence in its furtherance.
2. A feeling of strong eagerness (usually in favor of a person or cause); ardor, ardour, elan.
3. Excessive fervor to do something or to accomplish some end.
4. Passion; great or extreme enthusiasm.

Passions are fashions.

—Clifton Fadiman

Through zeal, knowledge is gotten, through lack of zeal, knowledge is lost; let a man who knows this double path of gain and loss thus place himself that knowledge may grow.

—Buddha (563?-483? B.C.)
zealatrice, zelatrix (s) (noun)
1. A female zelator or an older nun in charge of disciplining younger nuns.
2. A enthusiastic female partizan or promoter.
3. A female zealot who is actively and unreservedly enthusiastic about something.
zealot (s), zealots (pl) (nouns)
1. Someone who is very enthusiastic, especially excessively so.
2. A fanatically committed person.
3. A zealot was a member of a Jewish movement of the first century A.D. that fought against Roman rule in Palestine as incompatible with strict monotheism.

A sect of Jews who originated with Judas the Gaulonite (Acts 5:37). They refused to pay tribute to the Romans, on the ground that this was a violation of the principle that God was the only king of Israel. They rebelled against the Romans, but were soon scattered, and became a lawless band of brigands or bandits. They were afterwards called Sicarii, because of their use of the sica, the Roman dagger.

zealotical (adjective)
Like, or suitable to, a zealot; ardently zealous or full of a lot of energy, effort, and enthusiasm.
zealotry (n), zealotries (pl) (noun forms)
1. Excessive zeal; fanaticism; that is, an unwillingness to recognize and respect differences in the opinions or beliefs of others.
2. Excessive intolerance of opposing views.
3. A reference to zeal in excess, referring to cases where activism and ambition in relation to an ideology have become excessive to the point of being harmful to others, oneself, and one's own cause.

While "excess of zeal" may be used to refer to very common and individual instances of excess, zealotry tends to be reserved for cases where excess zeal is shared with others, and has formed, or merged, with some kind of dogma; typically with ideological self-perpetuation as being among its primary foundations.

The recommended use of force and violence to propagate the ideology, is a common characteristic of this kind of self-perpetuation; perhaps inline with the "ends justify the means" rationale.

zealous (adjective), more zealous, most zealous
1. Referring to an individual filled with or motivated by eagerness and ferventness: Andrew's zealous children made a great deal of effort to clean up the house for Timmy's birthday party.
2. Relating to a person who is diligent and completely devoted to an activity; also that which is inspired by an avid endeavor: If people were more zealous and less jealous, this world would be a much better place in which to live.
3. Etymology: from Greek zelos, "ardor, eager rivalry"; from Latin zelus, "zeal, jealousy."
A reference to being ardently devoted to a cause.
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zealously, more zealously, most zealously (adverb forms)
In a zealous manne or a reference to eagerness or enthusiastic activity: "She zealously worked to raise funds for the educational project."

The enthusiasm with which we point out other people's mistakes.

—Evan Esar in Esar's Comic Dictionary
zealousness (s) (noun)
A condition in which there are strong feelings about something; such as, some activity, religion, politics, etc.: "His zealousness about being physically fit at his age motivated others to be more interested in doing more exercises for their physical wel being."

Related religious-word units: church; dei-, div-; ecclesi-; fanati-; hiero-; idol-; -olatry; theo-.