For thousands of years, the Latin alphabet has consisted of 26 letters. But at one point in time, the letter Z — which was originally derived from the Greek "zeta" — was taken out of the alphabet. It was added back a few hundred years later, but rumor has it that the beloved last letter could be removed from the alphabet you know and love once again.
Why is Z getting removed from the Latin alphabet? Are the rumors true? Stay tuned for everything we know regarding this seriously shocking piece of gossip.
Z was first removed from the alphabet around 300 BC, but it was added back 200 years later.
Circa 300 BC, a statesman of the Roman Republic, Appius Claudius Caecus, had the letter Z removed from the alphabet entirely. It had supposedly become "archaic," according to Dictionary.com, and its pronunciation somehow became identical to that of R. It was ultimately banished from the alphabet along with the letter S.
About two full centuries later, Z was brought back to the Latin alphabet. Although it was predominantly used only in words with Greek roots, it was once again deemed necessary, and is now one of the only two letters that were taken out — and then added back in — to the alphabet we still continue to use today.
Is Z getting the boot again?
Every few years, a rumor spreads that the English Language Central Commission (ELCC) is removing Z from the Latin alphabet as of a certain date. The gossip alleges that Z would be replaced with S in words such as "visualize" (which would become "visualise") and words that start with Z would be replaced with X (as in "zoo" would become "xoo"). This year, according to Reddit, the supposed ELCC's message read:
"After carefully considering and debating the matter for over two years, the ELCC came to the conclusion that the letter “Z” should be removed from the English alphabet. The main objective of this change is to simplify the phonetic aspect of the language, and to unify the American and British spellings."
However, according to Hoax Slayer, all of this is simply an on-going prank that has gone on for years, and has been taken totally out of context. The ELCC actually doesn't exist. Which means Z is definitely not getting removed from the English language — your zippers and zealous zebras are A-OK.
We're absolutely thrilled that Z has decided to stick around for a little while longer — that is — until someone deems it "archaic" and entirely useless as they once did in 300 BC. Anyway, if 2020 were to get any weirder, Z would definitely disappear, so it's no surprise this rumor is spreading, once again.