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(sometimes lowercase) one of a former body of infantry in the French army, composed originally of Algerians, distinguished for their dash, hardiness, and picturesque Oriental uniform.
a member of any body of soldiers adopting a similar dress and drill, especially a soldier serving in any of certain volunteer regiments in the American Civil War.
Historical Examples

“You are a rebel, but I will do that for you,” replied the Zouave; and he gave him a canteen filled with water.
The Soldier Boy; or, Tom Somers in the Army Oliver Optic

A strange mishap was that which befell the gunboat “Zouave.”
The Naval History of the United States Willis J. Abbot.

The long, fluffy hairs on my legs (which give them the outline of a Zouave’s) had somehow gotten dirty.
Barks and Purrs Colette Willy, aka Colette

She heard the music of a bugle, and wished she were a Zouave safe in barracks.
The Mission Of Mr. Eustace Greyne Robert Hichens

As the boat pulled off to the Zouave, the camel jumped into the water and swam after it, and was taken aboard.
The World’s Greatest Books, Vol III Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton, Eds.

A Zouave, for whom there was none left, sobbed like a child in his disappointment.
The Downfall Emile Zola

The idea of any one suffering misery except himself seemed to the Zouave too preposterous not to be disposed of at once.
The British Expedition to the Crimea William Howard Russell

They were perfectly satisfied, though I was not at all, with my Zouave, Bornet.
Soyer’s Culinary Campaign Alexis Soyer

My old friend—the colonel of the “Ranche” and “Zouave” memory—was stationed at Richmond headquarters.
Four Years in Rebel Capitals T. C. DeLeon

About six in the evening, I and my Zouave visited the field of battle.
Soyer’s Culinary Campaign Alexis Soyer

(formerly) a member of a body of French infantry composed of Algerian recruits noted for their dash, hardiness, and colourful uniforms
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

1848, from French, from Arabic Zwawa, from Berber Igawawaen, name of a Kabyle tribe in Algeria, from which the French light infantry troops of that name were originally recruited in 1831.


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