Etymology
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zek (n.)
"Russian condemned person in a prison or labor camp," 1968, from Russian zek, probably representing a vocalization of z/k, abbreviation of zaklyuchennyi "prisoner."
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Zen (n.)

school of Mahayana Buddhism, 1727, from Japanese, from Chinese ch'an, ultimately from Sanskrit dhyana "thought, meditation," from PIE root *dheie- "to see, look" (source also of Greek sēma "sign, mark, token;" see semantic). As an adjective from 1881.

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Zend (n.)
1715, "Parsee sacred book" (in full, Zend-Avesta, 1620s), from Old Persian zend, from Pahlavi zand "commentary," from Avestan zainti- "knowledge," from PIE root *gno- "to know." First used 1771 in reference to the language of the Zend-Avesta by French scholar Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron (1731-1805).
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zenith (n.)
"point of the heavens directly overhead at any place," late 14c., from Old French cenith (Modern French zénith), from Medieval Latin cenit, senit, bungled scribal transliterations of Arabic samt "road, path," abbreviation of samt ar-ras, literally "the way over the head." Letter -m- misread as -ni-.

The Medieval Latin word could as well be influenced by the rough agreement of the Arabic term with classical Latin semita "sidetrack, side path" (notion of "thing going off to the side"), from se- "apart" + *mi-ta-, a suffixed form of PIE root *mei- (1) "to change, go, move." Figurative sense of "highest point or state" is from c. 1600.
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zeno- 
late 20c. word-forming element used in reference to the planet Jupiter, from Greek zeno-, combining form from Zeus (see Zeus; also compare Zenobia).
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Zenobia 
fem. proper name, from Greek Zenobia, literally "the force of Zeus," from Zen, collateral form of Zeus, + bia "strength, force," cognate with Sanskrit jya "force, power" (see Jain).
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Zenonian (adj.)
1843, pertaining to one of two Greek thinkers: Zeno of Elea ("Zeno of the Paradoxes," 5c. B.C.E.), who disproved the possibility of motion; and Zeno of Citium (c. 300 B.C.E.), founder of stoicism.
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zep (n.)
abbreviation of zeppelin, attested by 1915.
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Zephaniah 
masc. proper name, Biblical ninth of the prophets, from Hebrew Tzephanyah "the Lord has hidden."
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zephyr (n.)
mid-14c., from Old English Zefferus, from Latin Zephyrus (source also of French zéphire, Spanish zefiro, Italian zeffiro), from Greek Zephyros "the west wind" (sometimes personified as a god), probably related to zophos "the west, the dark region, darkness, gloom." Extended sense of "mild breeze" is c. 1600. Related: Zephyrean.
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