Ziegfeld Look up Ziegfeld at Dictionary.com
in reference to showgirls or stage revues, 1913, from Florenz Ziegfeld (1869-1932), U.S. theatrical producer, who staged annual "follies" from 1907-1931.
zig (v.) Look up zig at Dictionary.com
1969, from zigzag.
zig-zag (n.) Look up zig-zag at Dictionary.com
also zigzag, 1712, from French zigzag (1670s), perhaps from German Zickzack (though this is attested only from 1703), possibly a reduplication of Zacke "tooth, prong." Earliest use in German is in reference to military siege approaches. Originally in English used to describe the layout of certain garden paths. As an adjective from 1750; the verb is recorded from 1774. The brand of cigarette paper is from 1909. Related: Zig-zagged; zig-zagging.
ziggurat (n.) Look up ziggurat at Dictionary.com
also zikkurat, 1858, from Assyrian ziqquratu "height, pinnacle," from zaqaru "to be high."
zilch (n.) Look up zilch at Dictionary.com
"nothing," 1957; "insignificant person," 1933, from use of Zilch as a generic comical-sounding surname for an insignificant person (especially Joe Zilch). There was a Mr. Zilch (1931), comic character in the magazine "Ballyhoo," and the use perhaps originated c.1922 in U.S. college or theater slang. Probably a nonsense syllable, suggestive of the end of the alphabet, but Zilch is an actual German surname of Slavic origin.
The [Cadence] agency aims to have each album cover actually promote the record, on the theory that "the day of pretty, boffy, zoomy and zingy covers for the sake of zilch is no more." ["Billboard," Oct. 28, 1957]
zillion (n.) Look up zillion at Dictionary.com
1942, arbitrary coinage with no definite numerical value; first recorded in "Billboard."
Zimbabwe Look up Zimbabwe at Dictionary.com
southern African nation, 1980, named for an ancient city there, from Bantu zimba we bahwe "houses of stones," from zimba, plural of imba "house" + bahwe "stones." Previously known as Rhodesia (1964-80). Related: Zimbabwean.
zinc (n.) Look up zinc at Dictionary.com
1650s, zinke, from German Zink, perhaps related to Zinke "prong, point;" said to have been used first by Paracelsus (c.1526) on analogy of the form of its crystals after smelting. Zinke is from Old High German zint "a point, jag," from Proto-Germanic *teng- "tine" (cognates: Old Norse tindr "point, top, summit," Old English tind "prong, spike"), from PIE *denk- "to bite." Spelling with -c- is from 1813, from French influence.
zine (n.) Look up zine at Dictionary.com
1965, short for fanzine.
zinfandel (n.) Look up zinfandel at Dictionary.com
1896, "red or white dry California wine," origin uncertain; used earlier as the name of the grape from which it was made (1880). The wine itself is said to have been known in U.S. since 1829. Some wine experts suggest a corruption of the Austrian grape name Zierfandler, though these grapes are not related to those of zinfandel. See this article:
The similarity in the names Zinfandel and Zierfandler arouses some speculation. Modern vine identification systems did not yet exist in 1829, so it is conceivable that the cuttings George Gibbs imported to the USA had never been correctly identified in Austria.
zing (n.) Look up zing at Dictionary.com
1911, "high pitched sound," of echoic origin. Slang meaning "energy, zest" is attested from 1918. Verb is from 1920; meaning "to deliver a stinging witticism or retort" is by 1975.
zinger (n.) Look up zinger at Dictionary.com
"cruel quip," 1970, from zing + -er (1). Earlier it was baseball slang for "fastball" (by 1957).
zinnia (n.) Look up zinnia at Dictionary.com
genus of herbs of the aster family, 1767, from Modern Latin (Linnæus, 1763), named for German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn (1729-1759).
Zion Look up Zion at Dictionary.com
late Old English Sion, from Greek Seon, from Hebrew Tsiyon, name of a Canaanite hill fortress in Jerusalem captured by David and called in the Bible "City of David." It became the center of Jewish life and worship.
Zionism (n.) Look up Zionism at Dictionary.com
"movement for forming (later supporting) a Jewish national state in Palestine," 1896, from German Zionismus (from Zion + Latin-derived suffix -ismus; see -ism); first recorded 1886 in "Selbstemancipation," by "Matthias Acher" (pseudonym of Nathan Birnbaum (1864-1937)).
Zionist Look up Zionist at Dictionary.com
1896 (adj. and noun), from Zion + -ist.
zip (v.1) Look up zip at Dictionary.com
"move rapidly," 1852, of echoic origin. Meaning "close with a zipper" is from 1932. Related: Zipped; zipping.
ZIP (adj.) Look up ZIP at Dictionary.com
1963, in U.S. postal ZIP code, an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan, no doubt chosen with conscious echo of zip (v.1).
zip (n.2) Look up zip at Dictionary.com
"zero," 1900, student slang for a grade of zero on a test, etc.; of unknown origin; compare zilch.
zip (v.2) Look up zip at Dictionary.com
"to close or fasten by means of a zipper," 1932, back-formation from zipper (n.). Related: Zipped; zipping; zipless.
zip (n.1) Look up zip at Dictionary.com
"sound of something moving rapidly," 1875, imitative. Zip gun "homemade pistol" first recorded 1950.
zipper (n.) Look up zipper at Dictionary.com
1925, probably an agent noun from zip (v.1). The trademark taken out on the name that year applied to a boot with zippers, not to the "lightning fastener" itself, which was so called by 1927.
Zippo (n.) Look up Zippo at Dictionary.com
proprietary name of a brand of cigarette lighter, patented 1934 by Zippo Manufacturing Co., Bradford, Pa.
zippy (adj.) Look up zippy at Dictionary.com
1904, from zip (n.) "energy, force" (1900, from zip (v.1)) + -y (2).
zircon (n.) Look up zircon at Dictionary.com
1794, circon, also jargon, new name given in chemistry to jacinth, from French zircone and German Zirkon (compare French jargon, Italian giargone), from Arabic zarqun "cinnabar, bright red," from Persian zargun "gold-colored," from Avestan zari- "gold-colored," from zar "gold."
zirconium (n.) Look up zirconium at Dictionary.com
metallic chemical element, 1808, coined by German chemist and mineralogist Martin Heinrich Klaproth (1743-1817) in 1789; so called because it was found in zircon.
zit (n.) Look up zit at Dictionary.com
"acne pimple," 1966, originally U.S. teenager slang, of unknown origin.
zither (n.) Look up zither at Dictionary.com
stringed musical instrument, 1850, from German Zither, from Old High German zitara, from Latin cithara, from Greek kithara "lute" (see guitar).
ziti (n.) Look up ziti at Dictionary.com
type of tubular pasta, plural of zita (1845), from Italian, said to be a dialect word for "bridegroom."
zloty (n.) Look up zloty at Dictionary.com
monetary unit of Poland, 1842, from Polish złoty, literally "of gold," from złoto "gold," related to Russian zoloto, Czech zlato "gold" (see gold).
zoa (n.) Look up zoa at Dictionary.com
plural of zoon (q.v.).
zoanthropy (n.) Look up zoanthropy at Dictionary.com
form of insanity in which a man imagines himself to be another type of beast, 1845, from French zoanthrope or directly from Modern Latin zoanthropia, from Greek zoion "animal" (see zoo) + anthropos "man" (see anthropo-).
zodiac (n.) Look up zodiac at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French zodiaque, from Latin zodiacus "zodiac," from Greek zodiakos (kyklos) "zodiac (circle)," literally "circle of little animals," from zodiaion, diminutive of zoion "animal" (see zoo).

Libra is not an animal, but it was not a zodiac constellation to the Greeks, who reckoned 11 but counted Scorpio and its claws (including what is now Libra) as a "double constellation." Libra was figured back in by the Romans. In Old English the zodiac was twelf tacna "the twelve signs," and in Middle English also Our Ladye's Waye and the Girdle of the Sky.
zodiacal (adj.) Look up zodiacal at Dictionary.com
1570s, from zodiac + -al (1).
Zoe Look up Zoe at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, Greek, literally "life" (see zoo-).
zoetrope (n.) Look up zoetrope at Dictionary.com
"optical instrument which exhibits pictures as if alive and in action," 1867, literally "wheel of life," from Greek zoe "life" (see zoo-) + trope "turn" (see trope).
Zohar (n.) Look up Zohar at Dictionary.com
Jewish mystical commentary on the Pentateuch, 1680s, Hebrew, literally "light, splendor."
zoic (adj.) Look up zoic at Dictionary.com
"pertaining to animal life," 1863, from Greek zoikos, from zoion "animal" (see zoo-).
zollverein (n.) Look up zollverein at Dictionary.com
1843, from German Zollverein, literally "customs union," from Zoll "toll" (see toll (n.)) + Verein "union," from vereinen "to unite," from ver- + ein "one" (see one).
zombie (n.) Look up zombie at Dictionary.com
1871, of West African origin (compare Kikongo zumbi "fetish;" Kimbundu nzambi "god"), originally the name of a snake god, later with meaning "reanimated corpse" in voodoo cult. But perhaps also from Louisiana creole word meaning "phantom, ghost," from Spanish sombra "shade, ghost." Sense "slow-witted person" is recorded from 1936.
zonal (adj.) Look up zonal at Dictionary.com
1839, from Late Latin zonalis, from Latin zona (see zone (n.)).
zone (n.) Look up zone at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Latin zona "geographical belt, celestial zone," from Greek zone "a belt, the girdle worn by women at the hips," related to zonnynai "to gird," from PIE root *yos- "to gird" (cognates: Avestan yasta- "girt," Lithuanian juosiu "to gird," Old Church Slavonic po-jasu "girdle"). The 10c. Anglo-Saxon treatise on astronomy translates Latin quinque zonas as fyf gyrdlas.

Originally one of the five great divisions of the earth's surface (torrid, temperate, frigid; separated by tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and Arctic and Antarctic circles); meaning "any discrete region" is first recorded 1822. Zone defense in team sports is recorded from 1927.
zone (v.) Look up zone at Dictionary.com
1760, "mark with zones," from zone (n.). Land use planning sense is from 1916. Related: Zoned; zoning.
zoned (adj.) Look up zoned at Dictionary.com
1960s in drug-use sense, from ozone (n.), which is found high in the atmosphere; the related verb to zone is from 1980s.
zoning (n.) Look up zoning at Dictionary.com
"land-use planning," 1912, verbal noun from zone (v.).
zonk (v.) Look up zonk at Dictionary.com
1950, "to hit hard;" 1968, "to put into a stupor;" slang term, of echoic origin.
zoo (n.) Look up zoo at Dictionary.com
c.1847, short for Zoological Gardens of the London Zoological Society, established 1828 in Regent's Park to house the society's collection of wild animals. The first three letters taken as one syllable. "From a mere vulgarism, this corruption has passed into wide colloquial use" [Century Dictionary]. Slang meaning "crowded and chaotic place" first recorded 1935.
zoo- Look up zoo- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "animal, living being," from comb. form of Greek zoion "an animal," literally "a living being," from PIE root *gwei- "to live, life" (source also of Greek bios "life," Old English cwicu "living;" see bio-).
zoography (n.) Look up zoography at Dictionary.com
1590s, from zoo- + -graphy. Related: Zoographer; zoographic.
zoolatry (n.) Look up zoolatry at Dictionary.com
"worship of animals or an animal," 1817, from zoo- + -latry. Related: Zoolater; zoolatrous.