This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Sunday Rest: zamzawed. Word Not To Use Today.


It looks like an Arabic word, does zamzawed, or perhaps it might be Hindi. Or on the other hand all those zeds are irresistibly reminiscent of Zanzibar, so perhaps zamzawed is a Kiswahili word.

Wherever it comes from, zamzawed must surely mean something deeply mysterious. It must be an ancient wedding-custom, or a dish of golden spices, or a conclave of magicians.

Mustn't it?

(Oh, and by the way, how do you say it?)

Well, I've done the research, and I can announce that zamzawed is...

...deeply disappointing. In fact it's one of the most disappointing words in the English language.

For a start you say it ZAMzd; secondly it comes from England; and thirdly it describes tea that's been left stewing in the teapot until it's strong, bitter, and disgusting.

See? Not a houri, magic carpet, or smallest wisp of romance in sight.


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Sunday Rest: zamzawed. I can't find any details of where this word comes from, but it's used in the USA, too, where it describes food that's been cooked until it's dried up.


  1. I thought I'd get on the case here, but 'zamzawed' is not in my hard-copy Shorter OED, the online Oxford Dictionaries or Merriam-Webster. It is in the online Collins Dictionary, which gives no etymology other than saying it's a S.E England dialect word.

    Sally Prue - did you make this word up and somehow use your literati connections to get it into the Collins dictionary?

  2. If I had any influence with Collins they'd have published more of my books!

    But no, it was used by Henry Williamson in 1962 in his book It was the Nightingale: "You axed Zillah for me to boil'm in the furnace, an' I boiled 'm, and so you see it be no good you telling me they'm zamzawed."

    I wasn't all that literate it 1964!