Pronunciation Noun


  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, Boston: Little, Brown & Co., “The Treehouse,” Chapter 7, p. 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, Joseph Singer et al. (translators), Shosha (novel) by Isaac Bashevis Singer, 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,
      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,
      Liberality of disposition and conduct gives the highest zest and relish to social intercourse.
    • 1928, D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover, New York: Barnes & Noble, 1995, Chapter 9, p. 101,
      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 (novel), New York: Dell, 1963, Book Two, Chapter 2, p. 221,
      The singers, male and female, wore blue jeans and long hair and had more zest than talent.
  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, p. 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.
Synonyms Translations Translations
  • French: zeste
  • German: (2) Würze
  • Italian: buccia
  • Russian: це́дра
  • Spanish: ralladura

zest (zests, present participle zesting; past zested, past participle zested)

  1. (cooking) To scrape the zest from a fruit.
  2. To make more zesty.

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