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noun Slang.
  1. zero; nothing: The search came up with zilch.
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Origin of zilch

1965–70, Americanism; perhaps continuous with earlier zilch snafu, Mr. Zilch a character in Ballyhoo, a humor magazine first published in 1931; for sense cf. zip3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for zilch

zip, nothingness, blank, zero, naught, void, nada, nought, diddly-squat, zippo, insignificancy

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Contemporary Examples of zilch

British Dictionary definitions for zilch


noun slang
  1. nothing
  2. US and Canadian sport nil
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Word Origin for zilch

C20: of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for zilch


"nothing," 1966, from earlier sense of "meaningless speech" (1960), originally Mr. Zilch (1931), comic character in the magazine "Ballyhoo." Perhaps from U.S. college slang (early 1900s) Joe Zilsch "an insignificant person." Probably a nonsense syllable, but Zilch is an actual German surname of Slavic origin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper