Zealot , member of a Jewish sect noted for its uncompromising opposition to pagan Rome and the polytheism it professed. The Zealots were an aggressive political party whose concern for the national and religious life of the Jewish people led them to despise even Jews who sought peace and conciliation with the Roman authorities. A census of Galilee ordered by Rome in ad 6 spurred the Zealots to rally the populace to noncompliance on the grounds that agreement was an implicit acknowledgment by Jews of the right of pagans to rule their nation. They frequented public places with hidden daggers to strike down persons friendly to Rome. In the first revolt against Rome ad 66—70 the Zealots played a leading role, and at Masada in 73 they committed suicide rather than surrender the fortress, but they were still a force to be reckoned with in the first part of the following century. A few scholars see a possible relationship between the Zealots and the Jewish religious community mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
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Kirsten Powers talks to the author of ' Zealot ' about the double standard. I was sure the owner committed the cardinal sin of improperly storing his wine, and I smote him with all the fervor of a zealot. The more confident right-wing Republicans become, the more likely they will nominate a Palin-like zealot in Zada's character and her career had rendered her as contemptuous of public disapproval as any zealot of a loftier cause than love. The zealot was even threatened with excommunication by his fellow religionists. Into this morass Wolffert flung himself with the earnestness of a zealot. Lanfranc, sprung from Imperialist Pavia, was no zealot for extravagant papal claims.
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To save this word, you'll need to log in. In the 1st century A. Known as the Zealots, they fought their most famous battle at the great fortress of Masada, where 1, defenders took their own lives just as the Romans were about to storm the fort. Over the years, zealot came to mean anyone who is passionately devoted to a cause. The adjective zealous may describe someone who's merely dedicated and energetic "a zealous investigator", "zealous about combating inflation", etc. But zealot like its synonym fanatic and zealotry like its synonym fanaticism are used disapprovingly—even while Jews everywhere still honor the memory of those who died at Masada. Examples of zealot in a Sentence zealots on both sides of the issue resorted to name-calling and scare tactics Recent Examples on the Web This, despite the fact that Trump and the religious zealots his White House serves have rolled back rights for LGBT people, imperiled their health, and even endangered their lives. Send us feedback. See more words from the same year From the Editors at Merriam-Webster.
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