In most dialects of English, the letter's name is zed reflecting its derivation from the Greek zeta (see below). In American English dialects, its name is zee /ziː/, deriving from a late 17th-century English dialectal form. Another English dialectal form is izzard or izzed /ˈɪzɚd/, which dates from the mid-18th century and probably derives from the French et zède "and z". This is the predominant form in anglophone South Asia.
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, zäta in Swedish, zeta in Italian and Spanish, and zê in Portuguese.
In the Philippines, it is quite common to hear people pronounce the name of the letter Z as "zay" rhyming with "say".
|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".
Until recent times, the English alphabets used by children terminated not with Z but with & or related typographic symbols. 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."
The IPA uses [z] for the voiced alveolar sibilant. Early English had used (and to an extent, still does use) S alone for both the unvoiced and the voiced sibilant; the Latin sound imported through French was new and was not written with Z but with G or I. The successive changes can be well seen in the double forms from the same original, jealous and zealous. Both of these come from a late Latin zelosus, derived from the imported Greek ζηλος. Much the earlier form is jealous; its initial sound is the [dʒ] which in later French is changed to [ʒ]. It is written gelows or iclous by Wycliffe and his contemporaries; the form with I is the ancestor of the modern form. At the end of words this Z was pronounced ts as in the English assets, which comes from a late Latin ad satis through an early French assez "enough". See English plural.
Z is also used in English to represent in words like azure, seizure. But this sound appears even more frequently as s-before-u, and as si before other vowels as in measure, decision, etc., or in foreign words as G, as in rouge. The IPA character chosen for this sound in the nineteenth century is confused with another, much earlier obsolete character; for which, see Yogh.
For the use of "z" in such Scottish names as Culzean, Menzies or Dalziel, see: yogh.
Z was abolished in Icelandic in 1974.
The EBCDIC code for capital "Z" is 233 and for lowercase "z" is 169 (64 less).
af:Z als:Z ar:Z arc:Z ast:Z az:Z bs:Z ca:Z cs:Z co:Z cy:Z da:Z de:Z et:Z el:Z es:Z eo:Z eu:Z fa:Z fur:Z gan:Z gd:Z gl:Z ko:Z hr:Z ilo:Z is:Z it:Z he:Z ka:Z kw:Z sw:Z ht:Z la:Z lv:Z lt:Z hu:Z mzn:Z ms:Z nah:Z ja:Z no:Z nn:Z nrm:Z pl:Z pt:Z ro:Z qu:Z se:Z scn:Z simple:Z sk:Z sl:Z fi:Z sv:Z tl:Z th:Z vi:Z vo:Z yo:Z zh-yue:Z bat-smg:Z zh:Z
Z-DNA: still searching for a function; six years after the discovery of Z-DNA questions remain about whether it exists naturally and what its functions might be.
Nov 15, 1985; Z-DNA: Still Searching for a Function In the half-doZen years since Z-DNA was identified, this unusual...
Z Trim Offers Taste and Nutrition to the Nation's Schools at the School Nutrition Association's 62nd Annual Nutrition Conference.(Conference news)
Aug 06, 2008; Z Trim Holdings, Inc. (AMEX:ZTM) is exhibiting and providing samples of healthier burgers, dressings and snack bars...
Z-CAR RESTORER FINDS FAME, SUCCESS AND A FOLLOWING BY: JAY WEAVER FORT LAUDERDALE SUN-SENTINEL.(CAPITAL REGION)
Jan 26, 1995; Joseph Cutrone never finished high school. But he did learn his way around a car engine as a New Jersey teen because he couldn't...