Word Nerd: 5 zany words with a z that will expand your vocabulary

28 Aug

Z is the 26th and final letter of the English alphabet. Not a whole lot of words start with a z, only about 0.45%. But that’s no reason to miss out on this exclusive tribe of words.

For this week’s edition of Word Nerd, we bring you 5 words that start with the last letter of the English alphabet. Enjoy!

  • Zany: The word means unconventional or idiosyncratic. It comes from the French or Italian form of John – ‘Giovanni’. This was a stock name for servants in Italian plays, who were the clowns.
  • Zephyr: This has two meanings – a) a soft, gentle breeze and b) a light article of clothing, generally of cotton.
    The Greeks called the west wind ‘zephuros’ which became the Old English ‘zefferus’.
  • Zeugma: A word which can apply to other words in a sentence, but with different meanings.
    One of our favourite examples is from a 17th century poem ‘The Rape of the Lock’, “Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey. Dost sometimes counsel take—and sometimes tea”
    Take is the zeugma, and applies differently to counsel and tea.
  • Zho or Dzo: A cross between a cow and a yak.
    Very useful if you’re travelling in Tibet, and more so if you live there. Not sure where else you would use it. Let us know.
  • Zoanthropy: A delusion that one is an animal.
    For example, if you were travelling in Tibet and offered people a ride across the plateau because you thought you were a dzo.We’d recommend immediate medical attention if you did, though.


Any other interesting z-words you’d like to share with is? Email us or leave a comment below.

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