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 (zo͞o-äv′, zwäv)
1. A member of a French infantry unit, originally composed of Algerian recruits, characterized by colorful uniforms and precision drilling.
2. 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.

[French, from Berber Zwāwa, the Kabyle tribe from which the unit's members were originally recruited.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(zuːˈɑːv; zwɑːv)
1. (Military) (formerly) a member of a body of French infantry composed of Algerian recruits noted for their dash, hardiness, and colourful uniforms
2. (Military) a member of any body of soldiers wearing a similar uniform or otherwise modelled on the French Zouaves, esp a volunteer in such a unit of the Union Army in the American Civil War
[C19: from French, from Zwāwa, tribal name in Algeria]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(zuˈɑv, zwɑv)

1. a member of a former body of infantry in the French army, composed orig. of Algerians, distinguished for their showy drill and picturesque uniforms.
2. a member of any military body adopting a similar dress and drill, esp. a member of any of certain volunteer regiments in the American Civil War.
[1820–30; < French < Arabic zawāwah]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Hunter's cock-spur--possibly you have heard of that--flourished on the bull's neck; and the rhinoceros rats of the Algerian zouaves are also to be thought of,--monsters manufactured by transferring a slip from the tail of an ordinary rat to its snout, and allowing it to heal in that position."
Ledoux, and that Bellegarde's acquaintance with him dated from the days when they served together in the Pontifical Zouaves. M.
Une premiere fontaine, Ain Mzaouka, puis la rue Sidi Ramdane (ex rue des Zouaves).
The Moroccan Division was a mish-mash of all types of colonial units, which included colonial infantry battalions, Algerian tirailleurs, Moroccan troops, Zouaves, Foreign Legionnaires, and a battalion of Malagasy troops.
The Zouaves ballooned the fullness of their trousers, and the Michigan lumberjack troops posed full face to call attention to the bright plaid of their tunics.
Et en se basant sur ce texte juridique, le boulevard des 4 Zouaves (actuellement Felix Houphouet Boigny) a ete elargi...
North African units like the Zouaves, the Turcos, the French Foreign Legion, or even the Mamelukes who served in Napoleon Bonaparte's Imperial Guard developed distinctive styles of dress which were later adopted by the French Metropolitan Army during the nineteenth century.
In 1860, in an attempt to fend off incorporation into the new kingdom of Italy, French General Louis-Christophe-Leon Juchault de la Moriciere organized a new military unit for the Papacy--the Zouaves Pontificaux.
The papal Zouaves, inspired by an Algerian Berber tribe of the same name (Zwawa) and originally the name of a part of the French military, were constituted in 1860 under the pontiff Pius IX and French Major Lamorciere to oppose the Italian unification process which had been threatening the papal states of central Italy.
The four regiments of Zouaves in the French Army in 1914, while dressed in traditional North African style uniforms, were composed entirely of native Frenchmen rather than Colonials (bottom, left).
For example, most of the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry, "Duryee's Zouaves," came from Manhattan, with the exception of one company from Poughkeepsie.
(11) Second, companies adopted flashy titles such as the "Zouaves," "Rangers," "Rifles," "Guards," "Blues," and "Grays." Some--like the Lincoln Guards, the McClellan Guards, and the Morton Home Guards--were named in dedication of prominent national and state leaders.