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zyzzyva

Printable Version
Pronunciation: zi-zê-vê Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A genus of tropical South American weevils particularly fond of palm trees.

Notes: Who has the last word? Not that kind of palm!The sole interest in this word is the fact that it is the last word in the American Heritage Collegiate dictionary. The last word in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged is a related word, zyzzogeton "a genus of large South American leafhoppers of the family Cicadellidae". The Oxford English Dictionary ends on a nonword, zyxt, a long-obsolete Kentish spelling of second person singular present tense of see! Clearly, American Heritage has a word more befitting last position in a dictionary than the competition.

In Play: Who has the last word? Not that kind of palm!The sole interest in this word is the fact that it is the last word in the American Heritage Collegiate dictionary. The last word in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged is a related word, zyzzogeton "a genus of large South American leafhoppers of the family Cicadellidae". The Oxford English Dictionary ends on a nonword, zyxt, a long-obsolete Kentish spelling of second person singular present tense of see! Clearly, American Heritage has a word more befitting last position in a dictionary than the competition.

Word History: Less is known about the origin of this word than is known about the bug itself. It is common to say that it comes from New Latin Zyzzyva, genus name, probably from Zyzza, former genus of leafhoppers. The reason for the mystery of this word's origin is probably that it is an onomatopoetic word based on the sound bugs make, especially beetles, when they fly.

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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