This is a Biblical name for a fortress that became the city of Jerusalem specifically, and the entire state of Israel generally. It has often been extended to refer to the Jewish people and community.
The word is found 152 times in the Old Testament, the first time in 2 Samuel 5:7:
Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion – which is the City of David.
2 Samuel was likely written in the 600s BC.
The etymology is vague. I found dozens of possibilities. Example: it might come from a similar Arabic word that means “protect” or “defend.”
Zionism is a political movement that emerged in the late 1800s that called for the re-establishment of the state of Israel. It’s also used to refer to the act of Jews immigrating to Israel.
A Zionist is someone who supports Zionism. It’s often used pejoratively by people or groups aligned against Israel or the Jewish people. It’s sometimes used to refer to an individual who has immigrated to Israel.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a hoax document created in the early 1900s that purports to be a plan for the Jewish people to takeover the world. It is one of the sources of the belief that there is an international Jewish conspiracy.
Why I Looked It Up
I’m reading the book of Isaiah, and it comes up a lot. I had a general idea that it meant Israel, and a degree in political science meant that I knew what Zionism was in general. I just wanted to know the specifics of the term and how it came into use.