Also found in: Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
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.
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
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.