Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A member of a French infantry unit, originally composed of Algerian recruits, characterized by colorful uniforms and precision drilling.
  • noun A member of a group patterned after the French Zouaves, especially a member of such a unit of the Union Army in the US Civil War.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A soldier belonging to a corps of light infantry in the French army, distinguished for their dash, intrepidity, and hardihood, and for their peculiar drill and showy Oriental uniform.
  • noun A member of one of the volunteer regiments of the Union army in the American civil war (1861-5) which adopted the name and to some extent imitated the dress of the French Zouaves.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One of an active and hardy body of soldiers in the French service, originally Arabs, but now composed of Frenchmen who wear the Arab dress.
  • noun Hence, one of a body of soldiers who adopt the dress and drill of the Zouaves, as was done by a number of volunteer regiments in the army of the United States in the Civil War, 1861-65.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun military One of an active and hardy body of soldiers in the French service, originally Kabyle, but now composed of Frenchmen who wear the Kabyle dress.
  • noun military Hence, one of a body of soldiers who adopt the dress and drill of the zouaves in French service, as was done by a number of volunteer regiments in the army of the United States in the Civil War, 1861-65.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French, from Berber Zwāwa, the Kabyle tribe from which the unit's members were originally recruited.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

French, from Arabic زواوي (zawāwiy).

Examples

  • The little "Zouave" fired half a dozen shots, which fell short.

    Famous Sea Fights From Salamis to Tsu-Shima

  • By the wharf at Newport News lay a tug-boat, the "Zouave," which had been armed with a 30-pounder gun, and was rated as a gunboat and tender to the fleet.

    Famous Sea Fights From Salamis to Tsu-Shima

  • He had slipped his cable, shaken out some of his sails, and signalled to the tug-boat "Zouave" to come to his help.

    Famous Sea Fights From Salamis to Tsu-Shima

  • The little "Zouave" cast off from the frigate, and as she cleared her, fired a single shot from her one gun at the "Merrimac," and then ran down to the "Minnesota."

    Famous Sea Fights From Salamis to Tsu-Shima

  • The "Zouave" made fast to the "Congress" on the land side, but she had not moved far when the ship grounded within easy range of the "Merrimac's" guns.

    Famous Sea Fights From Salamis to Tsu-Shima

  • North African units in France's World War I army, such as Zouave infantrymen or Spahi cavalrymen, gained fame for their battlefield courage and for the splendor of their colorful uniforms.

    Original Signal - Transmitting Buzz

  • North African units in France's World War I army, such as Zouave infantrymen or Spahi cavalrymen, gained fame for their battlefield courage and for the splendor of their colorful uniforms.

    Newsvine - Get Smarter Here

  • Zouave, "and was struck with the truly patriotic and American manner in which" Zouave "was made to rhyme in different stanzas with" grave, brave, save, and glaive. "

    Urban Sketches

  • In September, 1855, French Zouave elite infantry in baggy red pants, blue vests and tasseled hats finally stormed the great Malakoff Redoubt that overlooked the harbor, finally breaking Russian defenses.

    Eric Margolis: GHOSTS OF SEVASTOPOL

  • In September, 1855, French Zouave elite infantry in baggy red pants, blue vests and tasseled hats finally stormed the great Malakoff Redoubt that overlooked the harbor, finally breaking Russian defenses.

    Eric Margolis: Ghosts of Sevastopol

Comments

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  • adds a whole new meaning to drilling (for what?)

    May 15, 2012