Saturday, 12 May 2012

Z is for ZED or ZEE?

The last day of the A-Z Challenge!
To all the talented bloggers that are here at the finish line, Congratulations! I'll be doing a reflection post  and look forward to reading yours starting May 7.

Z is the last letter of the English alphabet and a good way to end it, in my opinion (especially if you pronounce it Zed ;)) It is a good letter, although Kent from Shakespeare's King Lear did not think so: “Thou whore son Zed, thou unnecessary letter!” (Is Zed Dead in Canada). The Z started out as a double consonant used to represent 'ts' or 'ds'.

The Z is the only letter in our alphabet with two english pronunciations, 'zed' in Canada, Great Britain, Australia, India, New Zealand, etc. and 'zee' in the US. It is widely believed that 'zee' originated in the US but it actually crossed the ocean with British immigrants.

The 'zee' does roll easily off the tongue and it's useful in word play where it can take the place of a whole syllable, namely 'sie' or 'sy' or even a syllable involving itself. This is often seen in brand names such as 'La-Z Boy' chairs.

The 'zed' on the other hand is a nice firm letter letter that says 'this is the end of the alphabet'! Plus, it's how I pronounce it. ;)

There is an interesting article on the 'zed' and 'zee' by Bill Casselman called Is Zed Dead in Canada. I referred to it earlier and it is worth a quick read as it has some interesting tidbits. Near the end of the article he talks about the zee being used in Canada more and more by teens and 20 somethings. I see this every day and I wonder if the 'zed' will be around in 20 years. I hope it is.

I prefer 'zed', but that's because I'm Canadian, eh, and I'm a little older than 20 something. ;)


  1. I prefer zed as well. But it does ruin the “now I know my ABCs” nursery rhyme, and ZZ Top just doesn’t sound right as Zed Zed Top.

    Congratulations on making it through the A to Z challenge! It was a pleasure to read your blog.

  2. LOL! Too true on both counts. :)
    Congratulations to you, too!

  3. Yes, we can all blame the popular children's song.
    Regardless if it's zed or zee, isn't it great to finish the A to Z challenge?

    1. It is great to finish, I think I'm having a Challenge Hangover. ;)
      Thanks for visiting, Jeremy!

  4. but i should add, bc im canadian: definitely ZED!