What is the etymology of the word "zealous"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Etymology is the study of the history of words and how their format and meaning evolve over time. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word "zealous" dates back to the 1520's. This is the earliest year there is a written record of the word but it may have been used in conversation years before showing up in a manuscript. Zealous derives from Medieval Latin zelosus. This is Latin written and spoken between the years 700 - 1500 A.D.

It can be compared to Italian, the Romance language spoken in Italy, zeloso: and Spanish, also known as the Castilian, Romance language spoken in Spain and Spanish America, celoso. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial