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Basic Latin alphabet
 AaBbCcDd 
EeFfGgHhIiJj
KkLlMmNnOoPp
QqRrSsTtUuVv
 WwXxYyZz 
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Z is the twenty-sixth and final letter of the basic modern Latin alphabet.

Contents

Name and pronunciation

In many dialects of English, the letter's name is zed, pronounced /zɛd/, reflecting its derivation from the Greek zeta (see below). In American English, its name is zee /ziː/, deriving from a late 17th-century English dialectal form.[1] Another English dialectal form is izzard /ˈɪzərd/, which dates from the mid-18th century and probably derives from the French et zède "and z".[2] In Canadian English, zed is the more common name; zee is not unknown, but it is often stigmatized.[3]

Other Indo-European languages pronounce the letter's name in a similar fashion, such as zet in Dutch, German, Romanian and Czech, zède in French, zæt in Danish, zäta in Swedish, zeta in Italian and in Spanish dialects with seseo, and in Portuguese.

In Chinese (Mandarin) pinyin the name of the letter Z is pronounced [tsɛ], although the English zed and zee have become very common.

In the Philippines, it is quite common to hear people pronounce the name of the letter Z as "zay" rhyming with "say".[citation needed]

History

Proto-Semitic Z Phoenician Z Etruscan Z Greek Zeta

The name of the Semitic symbol was zayin, possibly meaning "weapon", and was the seventh letter. It represented either z as in English and French, or possibly more like /dz/ (as in Italian zeta, zero).

The Greek form of Z was a close copy of the Phoenician symbol I, and the Greek inscriptional form remained in this shape throughout ancient times. The Greeks called it Zeta, a new name made in imitation of Eta (η) and Theta (θ).

In earlier Greek of Athens and Northwest Greece, the letter seems to have represented /dz/; in Attic, from the 4th century BC onwards, it seems to have been either /zd/ or a /dz/, and in fact there is no consensus concerning this issue. In other dialects, as Elean and Cretan, the symbol seems to have been used for sounds resembling the English voiced and unvoiced th (IPA /ð/ and /θ/, respectively). In the common dialect (κοινη) that succeeded the older dialects, ζ became /z/, as it remains in modern Greek.

In Etruscan, Z may have symbolized /ts/; in Latin, /dz/. In early Latin, the sound of /z/ developed into /r/ and the symbol became useless. It was therefore removed from the alphabet around 300 BC by the Censor, Appius Claudius Caecus, and a new letter, G, was put in its place soon thereafter.

In the 1st century BC, it was, like Y, introduced again at the end of the Latin alphabet, in order to represent more precisely the value of the Greek zeta — previously transliterated as S at the beginning and ss in the middle of words, eg. sona = ζωνη, "belt"; trapessita = τραπεζιτης, "banker". The letter appeared only in Greek words, and Z is the only letter besides Y that the Romans took directly from the Greek, rather than Etruscan.

In Vulgar Latin, Greek Zeta seems to have represented (IPA /dj/), and later (IPA /dz/); d was for /z/ in words like baptidiare for baptizare "baptize", while conversely Z appears for /d/ in forms like zaconus, zabulus, for diaconus "deacon", diabulus, "devil". Z also is often written for the consonantal I (that is, J, IPA /j/) as in zunior for junior "younger".

In earlier times, the English alphabets used by children terminated not with Z but with & or related typographic symbols. In her 1859 novel Adam Bede, George Eliot refers to Z being followed by & when she makes Jacob Storey say, "He thought it [Z] had only been put to finish off th' alphabet like; though ampusand would ha' done as well, for what he could see."[4]

Blackletter Z

A glyph variant of Z originating in the medieval Gothic minuscules and the Early Modern Blackletter typefaces is the "tailed z" (German geschwänztes Z, also Z mit Unterschlinge) In some Antiqua typefaces, this letter is present as a standalone letter or in ligatures. Together with long s, it is also the origin of the ß ligature in German orthography.

A graphical variant of tailed Z is Ezh, as adopted into the International Phonetic Alphabet as the sign for the voiced postalveolar fricative.

Unicode assigns codepoints for "BLACK-LETTER CAPITAL Z" and "FRAKTUR SMALL Z" in the Letterlike Symbols and Mathematical alphanumeric symbols ranges, at U+2128 and U+1D537


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

Translingual

The Latin script
Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
Variations of letter Z

Źź Žž Żż Ẕẕ Ƶƶ Ȥȥ Ⱬⱬ ʐ ʑ ɀ DZDzdz DZDzdz DŽDždž

Letters using dot sign

Letter

ż lower case (upper case Ż)

  1. The letter z with a dot above.

Maltese

Letter

ż (upper case, lower case Ż)

  1. The 29th (and penultimate) letter of the Maltese alphabet, after y and before z.

Polish

Letter

ż (upper case, lower case Ż)

  1. The 32nd (and final) letter of the Polish alphabet, after ź.

Simple English

The Latin alphabet
Aa Bb Cc Dd
Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj
Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp
Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv
Ww Xx Yy Zz

Z is the twenty-sixth (number 26) and last letter in the English alphabet. Z is not used much. It is the most rarely used letter in the English language.

Meanings for Z








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