Boyfriend announced that he was zonked so he didn’t want to drive anywhere. Could I drive him on an errand? Of course, I’d help him out.
The previous afternoon’s warm sultry conditions had made BF drowsy, so he’d taken a nap–a very long one. Because his sleep cycle had been disrupted, he tossed and turned all night. Therefore, he wanted to “reset” his sleep clock and not take another afternoon nap. He was really out of it.
I pondered the word “zonked”. Words beginning with the letter, z are less numerous than with most other letters except for q. Z is an odd letter. Most of the English speaking world pronounces it as “zed” while U.S. residents pronounce it “zee”. Apparently, the original pronunciation of “zed” came from the pronunciation of the Greek letter “zeta”. “Zee” actually became acceptable in England in the 1600s and arrived in New England along with “zed”. It was Noah Webster who was the apparent source of normalizing “zee” in the United States. On the other hand, there were still some vicinities in the American South where “zed” had been used into the late nineteenth century.
Letter name origins aside, words that begin with z look like they were coined in another world. One of my favorite z words is “zephyr” because it rolls beautifully off the tongue. I also like that it is spelled with “ph” and a “y”. It’s just a beautiful word. The z word that is most descriptive of z is “zigzag” When I say it aloud, I always picture a “Z”.
This brings me back to “zonk”. It’s etymology is a short, recent one. Apparently, it was coined in 1950 as a slang expression meaning to “hit hard”. In the late 1960s, the word’s definition evolved to include, “to put into a stupor”. “Zonk” is of “echoic” or onomatopoeic origin. Another popular echoic z word is “zip”.
I must have been zonked out, too. Otherwise, why would I become sidetracked analyzing “zonked” and the letter “Z”? Writing about zonk and z makes me feel like catching some Z’s.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes a line from William Wordsworth.
“When from our better selves we have too long been parted by the hurrying world, and droop.
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired, how gracious, how benign is solitude.”