Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
August 13th, 2016
Episode 615 of 755 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 13, 2016 is: zest \ZEST\ noun 1 : a piece of the peel of a citrus fruit (such as an orange or lemon) used as flavoring 2 :an enjoyably exciting quality : piquancy 3 : keen enjoyment : relish, gusto Examples: Healthy and active as a senior citizen, Richard had a zest for life, a desire to travel and see the world, and a perpetual interest in trying new things. "Basically, chocolate powder gets sprinkled on top of your cappuccino. It may not seem like much, but the sugary bitterness from the chocolate adds zest to the beverage." — Jean Trinh, The Los Angeles Magazine, 24 June 2016 Did you know? Zest can spice up your life—fitting for a word that we learned from the world of cooking. We borrowed the term from a source that has given English speakers many culinary delights: French cuisine. The French used the form zest (nowadays they spell it zeste) to refer to orange or lemon peel used to flavor food or drinks. English speakers developed a taste for the fruit flavoring and adopted the term zest in the late 1600s. By the early 1700s, they had started using the word to refer to any quality that adds enjoyment to something in the same way that the zest of an orange or lemon adds flavor to food.