"Walt Disney, the man, had a restless zeal for storytelling and a gift for harnessing the latest technology to the storytelling craft."
The Pixar Touch by David A. Price
Zeal is according to WordWeb Pro “a feeling of strong eagerness (usually in favour of a person or cause). Excessive fervour to do something or accomplish some end.”
“Eagerness and ardent interest in pursuit of something” says Merriam Webster.
Wiktionary tells me it appeared in English for the first time 1382, coming from Old French “zel” which in turn is from Latin’s “zēlus” who got it from the Ancient Greek “ζήλος” which means “jealousy”.
Suitable synonyms are ardor, eagerness, enthusiasm, intensity, passion, elan and forwardness
The Free Dictionary has much more fascinating suggestions what “zeal” refers to: a minesweeper, a kingdom in a video game and an internet directory.
When I find an English word I don’t know I generally get the meaning from the surrounding text. So was the case for this word as well. Yet, I don’t take in the word in my active vocabulary if I don’t really check it up and try to put it to some use.
But then comes the other interesting part: I have a hard time to figure out if the word is generally understood or not. I’m not that surprised that I find words I don’t understand since English is not my native language, but what about those who have heard English since the cradle? If I write “he has a zeal for eating” will this be considered an easy read?
A rich vocabulary is something to thrive for, especially for a writer, but part of the knowledge should also be what is considered over the top and trashes a text into an unreadable mess.
I think this word is not commonly used, because I think I should have came across it a lot more then, but I don’t think it is so uncommon that people wonder why an directory on internet got this name. Maybe it is one of those writer’s words that is rarely spoken, but passionately written?
The Free Directory :
“People forget years and remember moments”
2 hours ago