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The word zero came into the English language via French zéro from Italian zero, Italian contraction of Venetian zevero form of 'Italian zefiro via ṣafira or ṣifr.[4] In pre-Islamic time the word ṣifr (Arabic صفر) had the meaning 'empty'.[5] Sifr evolved to mean zero when it was used to translate śūnya (Sanskrit: शून्य) from India.[5] The first known English use ofzero was in 1598.[6]The Italian mathematician Fibonacci (c.1170–1250), who grew up in North Africa and is credited with introducing the decimal system to Europe, used the term zephyrum. This became zefiro in Italian, and was then contracted to zero in Venetian. The Italian word zefiro was already in existence (meaning "west wind" from Latin and Greek zephyrus) and may have influenced the spelling when transcribing Arabic ṣifr.[7]Modern usageThere are different words used for the number or concept of zero depending on the context. For the simple notion of lacking, the words nothing and none are often used. Sometimes the words nought, naught and aught[8] are used. Several sports have specific words for zero, such as nil in football, love in tennis and a duck in cricket. It is often called oh in the context of telephone numbers. Slang words for zero include zip, zilch, nada, and scratch. Duck egg or goose egg are also slang for zero.[9]History
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