Disovering Zyxt!

 Because I was three days behind in the A-Z Blog Challenge, my wife suggested—just before I wrote X—that I cover three letters in one blog.

“Do you think there’s a word that has X, Y, and Z in it?” she asked.

“Sure,” I said, thinking there must be one. But, nothing was listed in the Scrabble dictionary and my OED search was unsuccessful too. No cigar, no XYZ-word, and no shortcut with respect to my self-imposed deadline.

Today, I returned my library copy of Ammon Shea’s Reading the OED, and purchased a paperback edition. For grins, I turned to the Z’sZyxt leapt out at me. How had I missed it?! I went straight to my online OED. When I typed in Zyxt, what came up was see, v. I dug deep into layers of detailed etymology to finally find zyxt.

Shea notes that “it is the second-person singular indicative present form of the verb “to see” in the Kentish dialect. I went to the Britannica to find out about Kentish—one of four Old English dialects, this one spoken in the southeastern part of England where Canterbury is located.

Shea continues: “Given that in the new online edition it has been stripped of its headword status and moved to the middle of a heap of variant spellings of see, (aha!), it seems unlikely that it will ever return to vogue. I do not think that I will ever use it in conversation…However, it will always be a word I remember fondly, as it is the very last word defined in the Oxford English Dictionary.”

Zyxt is also the last entry in Shea’s book, and it’s the last blog topic in my modest A-Z blog foray, so I am fond of it too.

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