za(redirected from Zas)
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[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. Two types of clipping are common in English: dropping the unstressed syllables or syllables not receiving the primary word stress, as in fridge from refrigerator; and dropping all syllables after the first syllable, as in ab, dis, porn, and vibe, whether or not the first syllable was originally stressed. In the case of za, the syllable that was dropped was originally stressed and was the first syllable, which is unusual. Rents from parents and nads from gonads are other examples of the same kind of clipping. Interestingly, we don't need to stay in the realm of contemporary slang to see the results of this unusual process. The words phone, bus, and wig (from telephone, omnibus, periwig) belong to Standard English but had their start as slangy or catchy neologisms formed by clipping their most strongly stressed syllable, just like za.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
the internet domain name for
(Computer Science) South Africa
(Automotive Engineering) South Africa (international car registration)
[from Afrikaans Zuid Afrika]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
[1965–70, Amer.; by shortening]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.