50 Words That Start With Z – Definitions & Examples

Do you want to create a zesty meal from scratch? Do you want to become a zany person? Or are you planning to take a trip to your local zoo? If you want to do any of these things, you’ll need to use words that start with Z!

This may sound easy enough, but Z is actually one of the least common letters in the English language. This means that it appears at the beginning of far fewer words than consonants like R, T, or N. Statistically, this also means that both native and non-native speakers are less likely to use or even know words that start with Z. So, to help you expand your vocabulary and learn some new words, we’ve provided you with a master list of 50 words that start with Z. Let’s get started!

50 Words That Start With Z and Definitions

Since you can divide words by meaning, length, and part of speech, we will try to keep this list as simple as possible. First, we will begin with positive words that start with Z. So, if you’re looking for positive ways to describe things with the letter Z, keep reading!

Positive words that start with Z

Using positive words is a great way to make friends and generally keep everyone happy! However, since it is one of the least common letters in the alphabet, there simply aren’t that many positive words that start with Z. Nonetheless, here are a few words that you can sprinkle into your next English conversation to keep things light and friendly!

  • Zanyadjective – Amusingly unusual or uncommon in behavior or appearance.
    • My sister entertains her classmates with her zany personality.
  • Zealousadjective – Passionate or enthusiastic.
    • I’ve always been zealous in my studies.
  • Zesty adjective –  Exciting and full of energy (describing people); having a strong, spicy, or pleasant flavor (describing food).
    • My favorite meal is a zesty chicken curry.
  • Zestful adjective – Having a lot of energy or enthusiasm.
    • I returned home to a zestful greeting from my dog.
  • Zippy adjective – Fast or lively.
    • The zippy little car sped through traffic with ease.

Now that you know a few positive words that start with Z, let’s look at even more words that begin with the last letter of the alphabet! 

Words that start with Za

To keep things easy, we will organize the remainder of this list based on the vowels that follow the letter Z. Each section will contain words that start with Z and a particular vowel. Additionally, each section will begin with 3 letter words that start with Z, going on to 4 letter words that start with Z, 5 letter words that start with Z, and so on!

  • Zagnoun/verb – A quick change of direction; to make a quick change of direction.
    • The cyclist zagged all over the sidewalk.
  • Zapnoun/verb – A sudden burst of energy; to completely destroy.
    • The gamer used his gun to zap all the enemies in his view.
  • Zarfnoun – A metal holder for a coffee cup that does not have a handle.
    • I bought my mother an ornamental zarf for Christmas.
  • Zappyadjective – full of energy.
    • The musical troupe put on a zappy performance.
  • Zanily – adverb – To do something in an amusing or comical way.
    • The clown zanily slipped on a banana peel.
  • Zappernoun – A remote control; a device for killing insects.
    • He installed the bug zapper on the front porch to kill all the mosquitos. 

Words that start with Ze

Next up, we have some useful words that start with Ze!

  • Zennoun/adjective – A Japanese school of Buddhism; calmness and tranquility.
    • I’ve been feeling very Zen lately.
  • Zealnoun – Enthusiasm regarding a specific goal.
    • His zeal helped him climb the corporate ladder.
  • Zeronoun/verb – no quantity; focus on a target.
    • The supermarket had zero watermelons in stock.
  • Zebranoun – A black-and-white striped horse native to Africa.
    • A lion chased the zebra across the savannah.
  • Zenithnoun – The high point or peak of something.
    • The business reached its zenith years ago.
  • Zealotnoun – A person who is fanatical about their religious or political beliefs.
    • The religious zealot yelled at passersby.
  • Zesternoun – A kitchen utensil for peeling off small shreds of citrus peel.
    • I need to buy a zester to use with all of these oranges.
  • Zestilyadverb – To do something with zest or great enthusiasm.
    • She zestily hurried through the streets.
  • Zealotrynoun – A fanatical pursuit of religious or political beliefs.
    • The politician’s zealotry proved to be popular with rural voters.
  • Zestlessadjective – Lacking any zest or liveliness.
    • The dish he served was completely zestless.
  • Zebrafishnoun – A freshwater fish native to South Asia.
    • We saw a school of zebrafish when we went snorkeling.
  • Zeitgeistnoun – The general mood of a period of history based on the prevailing beliefs at the time. 
    • The zeitgeist of the 2010s was one of political division.
  • Zestinessnoun – The state of being zesty.
    • My food had a peculiar zestiness that I found appealing.
  • Zealousnessnoun – The state of being passionately devoted to something.
    • The court’s zealousness for law and order had long-lasting consequences.

Words that start with Zi

Now it’s time to look at words that start with Zi!

  • Zignoun/verb – A sharp change in direction; to make a sudden change in direction.
    • He zigged past the other driver.
  • Zipverb – To close using a zipper; to move quickly.
    • The man at the airport struggled to zip his bag shut.
  • Zitnoun – A pimple.
    • I always get zits when I’m stressed out.
  • Zincnoun – An essential mineral found in nature.
    • My doctor says that I need more zinc in my diet.
  • Zingnoun/verb – Energy and excitement; to move very quickly.
    • The couple wanted to add a bit more zing to their marriage.
  • Zilchnoun – Nothing.
    • He was left with zilch after his divorce.
  • Zigzagnoun/verb – A line that alternates left and right; to move back and forth quickly.
    • He zigzagged through traffic to get to the meeting on time.
  • Zingernoun – A funny joke or insult.
    • The woman was keeping everyone entertained with a series of zingers.
  • Zillionnoun – An extremely large quantity.
    • I have a zillion things to do today.
  • Zippernoun – A device used to close or open bags, clothing, or other items.
    • The zipper on my jacket broke a week after I bought it.

Words that start with Zo

Up next, we have words that start with Zo!

  • Zoonoun – A space dedicated to the display of wild or exotic animals.
    • For my last school trip, we went to the local zoo.
  • Zonenoun – A specific area of land.
    • People are required to drive slower in school zones.
  • Zoomnoun/verb – A camera shot that transitions from a long-shot to a close-up; to move quickly.
    • The camera zoomed in on the man’s face.
  • Zodiacnoun – An area of the night sky divided into 12 distinct signs, which are commonly associated with the 12 months of the year.
    • What’s your zodiac sign?
  • Zombienoun – A reanimated corpse; the living dead.
    • I think zombie movies are really scary!
  • Zoningverb/adjective – The act of dividing space into separate areas; related to the legal or official division of land.
    • The city officials are rewriting the zoning laws.
  • Zoologynoun – The scientific study of animals.
    • My mother studied zoology in college.
  • Zoetropenoun – An old-fashioned device that creates the illusion of moving images.
    • Before animated movies came along, people used zoetropes. 
  • Zookeeper – noun – A person who attends to animals at a zoo.
    • The zookeeper was trained to safely feed the lions.

Words that start with Zu

Our lists are starting to get very short! Now we have just three words that start with Zu!

  • Zucchininoun – A variety of summer squash.
    • I like to eat fried zucchini, but my sister hates it.
  • Zulunoun – A language originating in South Africa; a 19th-century African empire.
    • Today, over nine million people speak some form of Zulu. 
  • Zugzwangnoun – A situation in the game of chess in which the obligation to move puts the player at a disadvantage.
    • Just when he thought he was about to win, the player found himself in a zugzwang.

Words that start with Zy

Finally, we have just three more words that start with Zy!

  • Zymenoun – A chemical substance that produces a change in other substances.
    • Many zymes are found in both humans and animals.
  • Zygotenoun – A fertilized egg cell.
    • A zygote can eventually become an embryo.
  • Zymology – The scientific study of fermentation.
    • Zymology is a subject that focuses on enzymes.


We hope you enjoyed this list of 50 words that start with Z! While some of these words may be tricky to place in everyday conversation, others will make a great addition to your working vocabulary. So, don’t be afraid to feel zealous and get in the zone as you zigzag through your next English conversation! 

As always, for all things English conversation, grammar, or job-related, visit Magoosh Speaking today!

Matthew Jones

Matthew Jones

Matthew Jones is a freelance writer with a B.A. in Film and Philosophy from the University of Georgia. It was during his time in school that he published his first written work. After serving as a casting director in the Atlanta film industry for two years, Matthew acquired TEFL certification and began teaching English abroad. In 2017, Matthew started writing for dozens of different brands across various industries. During this time, Matthew also built an online following through his film blog. If you’d like to learn more about Matthew, you can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn!
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