November 27, 2018
zero (noun)
\ZEER-oh\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : the numerical symbol 0 or the number represented by it2 a : a point (as on a scale) from which measurements are made b : a value or reading of zero; especially : the temperature shown by the zero mark on a thermometer3 : something or someone of no importance4 : the lowest point
How do you use it?
"It was so cold that if you spit, the slob would be an ice cube before it hit the ground. It was about a zillion degrees below zero." (Christopher Paul Curtis, _The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963_)
Are you a word wiz?

In which language do you think the word "zero" originated?

We didn't give you answer B for nothing—it's the right one! During the Middle Ages, Arabs and Persians were the foremost mathematicians in the world and the West learned much from them--including the concept of nothing having a numerical value. Eastern scholars and mathematicians had been looking at zero since the first millennium. It was later that the Arabic word for zero, "sifr," traveled to Medieval Latin (the Latin used especially in the church and literature from the 7th to the 15th centuries) and from there into French and Italian. English adopted "zero" from French and Italian in the late 1500s.
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