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n. Informal
The letter z.

[Probably variant of Scots ezed, variant of zed.]
Word History: The curious and charming word izzard, meaning "the letter z," is practically limited to certain fixed expressions in American vernacular English, such as from A to izzard, "from beginning to end," and not to know A from izzard, "not to know even the most basic things." The English lexicographer Samuel Johnson mentions the word izzard as part of his attempt to explain the sound of the letter z in the grammar of English he placed at the beginning of his Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1755: Z begins no word originally English; it has the sound, as its name izzard ... expresses, of an s uttered with a closer compression of the palate. In Johnson's time, a variant name for the letter z, uzzard, was also in use. Izzard and uzzard are related to zed, the usual name of the letter z in British English. In Scottish English, z was also once known as ezed, and this form gives us a clue to a possible origin of izzard. The name may have developed from the phrase pronounced at the end of a recitation of the alphabet in Old French, et zede, "and zed" ("and zee" in American English). The Old French word for the letter z, zede, descends from Late Latin zēta, and the Late Latin word itself goes back to the name used by the Greeks for their letter ζ, zēta.


archaic the letter Z
[C18: from earlier ezed, probably from Old French et zède, literally: and zed]


(ˈɪz ərd)

n. Chiefly Dial.
the letter z.
[1730–40; alter. of zed]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.izzard - the 26th letter of the Roman alphabet; "the British call Z zed and the Scots call it ezed but Americans call it zee"; "he doesn't know A from izzard"
Latin alphabet, Roman alphabet - the alphabet evolved by the ancient Romans which serves for writing most of the languages of western Europe
alphabetic character, letter of the alphabet, letter - the conventional characters of the alphabet used to represent speech; "his grandmother taught him his letters"
References in periodicals archive ?
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