As “zyzzyva” makes its overdue arrival in the OED, recent articles from The Washington Post and USA Today are helping to spread the word as to what the word even means (a tropical weevil, of course, as our readers already know), but also shed some light on why a San Francisco literary journal in 1985 would have chosen the word for its name. As the Oxford English Dictionary’s blog notes, “[The word] Zyzzyva owes much of its currency in English to its notoriety as the last entry in various dictionaries.” That is, to claim “zyzzyva” is to make known one has the final word.
The Post was good enough to report that the word doesn’t just exist as a lexical curiosity, noting our publication “certainly seems to be connected to the bug, images of a weevil with a ‘Z’ slapped on its fat abdomen appear across the journal’s website.” For the record, we consider the abdomen pronounced. (The weevil doesn’t overeat.)
To celebrate this coronation of sorts of “zyzzyva,” this holiday weekend—only through July 4th—we’re offering a four-issue subscription plus a T-shirt featuring our weevil for only $50! What a great way to let the world know you have the final word.