If Zerø is the answer, was the question really 42?
If x = Zerø - the question = 42?
#circus250 #zero #chapiteux18
‘The word zero came into the English language via French zéro from Italian zero, Italian contraction of Venetian zevero' form of 'Italian zefiro from ṣafira or ṣifr.In pre-Islamic time the word ṣifr (Arabic صفر) had the meaning 'empty'. Sifr evolved to mean zero when it was used to translate śūnya (Sanskrit: शून्य) from India. The first known English use of zero was in 1598.’
In my mind, the linkage to Circus and the ring is a magical one. The ring represents nothing and everything. The symbolic centre of circus but it’s empty. An empty symbol of nothing. A circle, an “Oh" and O and a Ø of 0°.
Trivia alert; The traditional size of a Circus ring is 42 feet across. This used to mean something when feet and inches meant something but most of the world has moved on and use metric measurements now.
The ring size was considered optimum for a horse to canter in a circle and facilitate people to perform feats of daring do on top the horse. Unfortunately repetitious circling in one direction often did physical harm to horses. Emotional harm as well I imagine! Reversing the rotation may have helped the horses but this was seldom done. Riders and horses were habituated to one direction (No, not the boy band).
Fibonacci‘The Italian mathematician Fibonacci (c.1170–1250), who grew up in North Africa, (another immigrant!) 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.
As the decimal zero and it’s new mathematics spread from the Arabic world to Europe in the Middle Ages, words derived from ṣifr and zephyrus came to refer to calculation, as well as to privileged knowledge and secret codes. According to Ifrah, "in thirteenth-century Paris, a 'worthless fellow' was called a '... cifre en algorisme', i.e., an 'arithmetical nothing'." From ṣifr also came French chiffre = "digit", "figure", "number", chiffrer = "to calculate or compute", chiffré = "encrypted".
Today, the word in Arabic is still ṣifr, and cognates of ṣifr are common in the languages of Europe and southwest Asia.
Modern, slang & specialised usage
There 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 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.’
My source document is extracted from Wikipedia for ease:
February 27th, 2018