iz·zard (ĭz’ərd)
n. Informal The letter z.
[Probably variant of Scots ezed, variant of ZED(Cf. ↑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.

Word Histories. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Izzard — may refer to: * Eddie Izzard, English comedian and actor * the old English dialect form of the letter Z * Izzard (fanzine), a Hugo nominated science fiction fanzineee also*Izard, or Pyrenean Chamois, a European goat antelope …   Wikipedia

  • Izzard — Iz zard, n. (Zo[ o]l.) See {Izard}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Izzard — Iz zard, n. [Formerly ezed, prob. fr. F. et z[ E]de and z.] The letter z; formerly so called …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • izzard — old name for Z, 1738, a variant of ZED (Cf. zed) …   Etymology dictionary

  • izzard — [iz′ərd] n. [earlier ezed, ezod, var. of ZED] Now Chiefly Dial. the letter Z …   English World dictionary

  • Izzard — Eddie Izzard Edward Eddie John Izzard (* 7. Februar 1962 in Aden, Jemen) ist ein britischer Comedian und Schauspieler. Er gehört zu den renommiertesten Stand Up Komikern der Welt. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • izzard — Zed ed, n. [F., probably through It. zeta, fr. L. zeta. See {Zeta}.] The letter {Z}; called also {zee}, and formerly {izzard}. Zed, thou unnecessary letter! Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Izzard — This interesting and unusual name is of Medieval French origin and is either from the female personal name Iseult , or Isolde , which is composed of the Germanic elements is , ice, and hild , battle, or the masculine personal name Ishard ,… …   Surnames reference

  • izzard — noun 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 • Syn: ↑Z, ↑z, ↑zee, ↑zed, ↑ezed • Hypernyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • izzard — noun Etymology: alteration of earlier ezod, ezed, probably from Middle French et zede and Z Date: circa 1726 chiefly dialect the letter z …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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