Date: Wed, 28 Jan 1998 08:27:54 -0500

From: Alan Baragona baragonasa[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]VAX.VMI.EDU

Subject: Re: "zephyr" (= nothing)

Scott Paauw wrote:

Gerald Cohen wrote:

I've come across "zephyr" with the meanng "nothing":

_ St. Louis Post-Dispatch_, May l7, l997, p.34/1-3; title: "The Sky

Is Not Falling":

"A 150-pound hunk of aluminum...comes hurtling out of space and

crashes on downtown's major

artery. And what happens?

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zephyr. No human pancakes. No busted

windshields. [etc.]...."

I have no idea how the semantic development "zephyr" to "nothing"

occurred. Can anyone help?

This is just a guess, but it may be confusion with "cipher" (Brit.

spelling cypher), which of course means zero.

"Cipher" is an interesting suggestion. Another pure guess might be that

it's an extension of the use of "wind" to mean airy nothingness, as in

"Oaths are but words, and words but wind."