First used in 1202 by Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci, borrowed from Arabic صِفْر (ṣifr, “nothing”, “cipher”). Not related to zephyrus.
zephirum n (genitive zephirī); second declension
- (Medieval Latin, mathematics) zero
1202, Leonardo Fibonacci, chapter I, in 'Liber Abaci': Cum his itaque novem figuris, et cum hoc signo 0, quod arabice zephirum appellatur, scribitur quilibet numerus, […]
- With these nine figures, and with this sign 0, which is called zero in Arabic, any number can be written, […]