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See also: žest



Borrowed from French zeste.[1]


  • IPA(key): /zɛst/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛst


zest (countable and uncountable, plural zests)

English Wikipedia has an article on:
  1. The outer skin of a citrus fruit, used as a flavouring or garnish.
    The orange zest gives the strong flavor in this dish.
  2. General vibrance of flavour.
    I add zest to the meat by rubbing it with a spice mixture before grilling.
    • 1959, Peter De Vries, The Tents of Wickedness[1], Boston: Little, Brown & Co., The Treehouse, Chapter 7, page 92:
      He rolled his own cigarettes from a sack of Bull Durham, spilling flakes into his beer, which no doubt gained in zest thereby.
    • 1978, Isaac Bashevis Singer, translated by Joseph Singer et al., Shosha[2], New York: Fawcett Crest, Part One, Chapter Five, 1, p. 99:
      Bashele’s dishes tasted as good as they had when I was a child. No one could give to the borscht such a sweet-and-sour zest as Bashele.
  3. (by extension) Enthusiasm; keen enjoyment; relish; gusto.
    Auntie Mame had a real zest for life.
    • 1728, Edward Young, Love of Fame, the Universal Passion, Satire II in The Works of the Reverend Edward Young, London: P. Brown, H. Hill & S. Payne, 1765, Volume I, p. 85,[3]
      Almighty vanity! to thee they owe
      Their zest of pleasure, and their balm of woe.
    • 1807, Thomas Cogan, An Ethical Treatise on the Passions, Bath: Hazard & Binns, Part 1, Disquisition 1, Chapter 1, Section 1 “On the utility of the Passions and Affections,” p. 51,[4]
      Liberality of disposition and conduct gives the highest zest and relish to social intercourse.
    • 1842, [anonymous collaborator of Letitia Elizabeth Landon], chapter XXXIV, in Lady Anne Granard; or, Keeping up Appearances. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, page 139:
      And never did Isabella relieve a suffering fellow-creature, or assist a beloved sister, without blessing the dear, distant one that had made her rich, and kissing her sweet boy with new zest, as the son of his father.
    • 1928, D[avid] H[erbert] Lawrence, chapter 9, in Lady Chatterley’s Lover, [Florence, Italy: [] Tipografia Giuntina, []], →OCLC; republished as Lady Chatterley’s Lover (eBook no. 0100181h.html)‎[5], Australia: Project Gutenberg Australia, August 2011, archived from the original on 11 November 2020:
      Once started, Mrs. Bolton was better than any book, about the lives of the people. She knew them all so intimately, and had such a peculiar, flamey zest in all their affairs, it was wonderful, if just a trifle humiliating to listen to her.
    • 1962, James Baldwin, Another Country[6], New York: Dell, published 1963, Book Two, Chapter 2, p. 221:
      The singers, male and female, wore blue jeans and long hair and had more zest than talent.
    • 2008 January–February, “70 Ways to Improve Every Day of the Week”, in Men's Health, volume 23, number 1, →ISSN, page 135:
      59 sneak in some red Smuggle a bottle of wine, two glasses, and a corkscrew into a long matinee. Red wine is rich in life-extending antioxidants, and the caper will add zest even to a bad movie.
  4. (rare) The woody, thick skin enclosing the kernel of a walnut.
    • 2006, N. J. Nusha, On the Edge (Short Stories), Lahore: Sang-e-Meel Publications, page 85:
      The green zest of walnuts was used by the women to shine their teeth and it also gave a beautiful rust colour to their lips.


Derived terms[edit]

Terms derived from zest (noun)



zest (third-person singular simple present zests, present participle zesting, simple past and past participle zested)

  1. (cooking) To scrape the zest from a fruit.
  2. To make more zesty.
    • 1792, James Cobb, The Siege of Belgrade, a Comic Opera, in Three Acts, page 47:
      Strains ſo artleſs tho’ we proffer,
      Hearts o’er flowing zest the offer.

Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ zest, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, launched 2000.





zest m (plural zests)

  1. zest (of a fruit)

Further reading[edit]



zest c

  1. zest; the outer skin of a citrus fruit


Declension of zest 
Indefinite Definite
Nominative zest zesten
Genitive zests zestens