Z is for words that start with Z

The only four letter word that I did not know but that had a definition was zarf

zigzagBereft of an appropriate topic for the week, I went to the Wordfinder Words that Start with Z, which “can help you score big playing Words With Friends® and Scrabble®.”

I started with the one two-letter word, za: Shortening and alteration of pizza.
Our Living Language: When people speak casually of ordering a za, “pizza,” they are unwittingly producing an expression that language historians find interesting. Za derives from the full form pizza by a process known as clipping.

OK, I get it, but can’t say say I really like it.

Moving on to the three-letter words:

zin: (informal) Zinfandel wine
I’ve used that, actually. And have drunk it.

zag: any of the short, sharp angles or turns of a zigzag pattern, as alternating with a zig; any sharp turn away from a straight course
No surprise that zig has a similar definition, both deriving from zigzag, which is shown above. I’ve only used the shorter words in variation, such as “I zigged when I should have zagged.”

zep: Chiefly New Jersey (See submarine sandwich)
Origin of zep – Possibly short for zeppelin (from its shape).

zek – An inmate of a Soviet labor camp.
From the Russian

zax -A tool similar to a hatchet, used for cutting and dressing roofing slates.
Origin of zax: Variant of sax, from Middle English, knife, from Old English seax; see sek- in Indo-European roots.
Which looks a lot like a variation of ax.

The only four letter word that I did not know but that had a definition was zarf
-a small, metal holder, used in the Levant to hold a cup of hot coffee
-a chalicelike holder for a hot coffee cup, typically made of ornamented metal, used in the Middle East.
-an ornamental container designed to hold a coffee cup and insulate it from the hand of the imbiber
Origin of zarf: Arabic for receptacle, vessel, container

Interestingly, none of the Z words appear in my spellcheck. This is not to say that they are illegitimate, only uncommon. Check out the longer words that start with Z for yourself, see which ones you know, and improve your Scrabble® prowess.

ABC Wednesday – Round 19

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

21 thoughts on “Z is for words that start with Z”

  1. I love Scrabble but I already get accused of using non-words when I use geology nomenclature.

    The most powerful word I’ve used in Scrabble is quartzite, which a metamorphic rock derived from sandstone. Contains a q, a z, is long enough to touch two triple word scores, and can be an extension of several common words including “art” and “it.”

  2. I’ve been using the free Grammarly addon for Google Chrome and other applications and have been pleasantly surprised by the words that it does recognise, even obscure place names and the like. Anyway, I just wanted to say that it was quite happy with zek and za, although it did wonder if I was confusing zax with tax!

  3. The reason that I leave the ABCW membership is among other letters the Z,X, and Y. Moreover it is extremely time consuming. I enjoyed being here though.Thanks Roger!

  4. Funny! I looked up Z words, too, and there were scads that were acceptable for Scrabble but had no meaning. Weird!

    Leslie
    abcw team

  5. never thought about zag – and that while that is one of my favorite patterns in knitting:) Roger, you still top us all! A happy new year to you:)

  6. interesting read, roger! za for pizza does not do it for me either.. while zarf is a new word for me as well..
    thank you and happy new year

  7. Zort. An expression exclaimed by Pinky, an animated creature that once starred in “Pinky and the Brain” during the 1990s. The expression could be used to respond to Would you wish a Za with some Zin? 🙂

  8. Z is a difficult letter to start a word with and being an avid
    scrabble fan I find it amazing that there are several Z words
    that do not have a meaning, other than being a derivative of another
    word for example za for pizza. This is sheer laziness (slang),
    in my opinion, Just saying……
    Happy New Year Roger,
    Di.xx
    ABCW team.

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