A-Z Database

A-Z Database

All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Zeppelin

A hydrogen-filled German airship, dating from around 1900, named after the German general who perfected it, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin (1838-1917)....

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Zilch

US slang expression that means nothing or zero. Like zip or zippo, its etymology is unknown, but some say it dates from the 1930s with the appearance...

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Zillion/s

Obviously a play on the word million and denotes a very large but indefinite number. It was coined by Damon Runyon in 1944.


ZIP code

The US postal service introduced an address code system called ZIP codes in 1963. ZIP is an acronym for Zone Improvement System.


Zip it

A figurative expression meaning to close or shut one’s mouth in much the same way one would close a zip fastener. It is thought to be of American orig...

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Zip/Zippo

Zip as in to move quickly or zip by is purely echoic and dates from the mid-19th century and is American in origin. Zip has also come to mean nil or z...

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Zit

A zit is a spot or acne pimple. US teenager slang from around 1965, origin unknown.


Zizz

British slang expression for a nap or forty winks dates from the 1920s and imitates the sound of sleep. See also Z.


Zombie

Most likely origin is from voodoo and other religious or magical practices of West African and Caribbean origin, where the word describes a dead perso...

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Zone

To be in the zone is an accepted concept in modern sports psychology that dates from the late 1970s. It is not known who coined the expression but Ted...

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Zonked

US slang for tired or exhausted dates from the 1980s but was originally used to describe the excessive effects of drugs or alcohol.


Zoot suit

Originally, zoot suit is a corruption from rhyming with suit but instead of ‘zuit’ the spelling zoot was adopted. Zoot suit has come to mean one’s bes...

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Zouave

French light infantry soldier first recruited in 1831 from the Zouaoua or Zwawa, Berber tribesmen that inhabited the Kabyli mountain range in Algeria....

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Zounds sometimes Swounds

An archaic expression of surprise rarely heard these days, but common enough in literary work since the 16th century. It is a contraction of the oath,...

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