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zilch = nix, null, gar nichts, dreimal gar nichts



“If you care about cutting taxes on the rich, then vote Republican, but if you seriously care about fighting inflation, Republicans will do ZILCH about that.”

Steven Greenhouse - The Guardian ‘Don’t blame Joe Biden for high inflation’ (28 October 2022)

Did you

adjective or noun

- zero; nothing

- A person regarded as being insignificant; a nobody



The origin of zilch is unknown, it could possibly be a combination of zero and nil.

The Online Etymology Dictionary suggests a couple of potential sources including the name of a comic character in the 1930s magazine Ballyhoo (Mr. Zilch) and the slang Joe Zilsch, a 1900s college expression meaning an insignificant person.


Zilch can be used in many different contexts and is often applied in a negative sense:

- “He knows zilch about marketing.”

- “I got zilch for my old computer at the flea market.”

A word of caution. In conversation, you’ll often hear zilch in double-negative phrases, it's a grammatically bad habit:

- “He doesn’t know zilch about marketing.”

- “I didn’t get zilch for my old computer at the flea market.”


- nothing, or a value equal to zero:

aught, blank, not a (single) thing squat, nihil, duck diddly, null, nothing further (else, extra), ought, oblivion, not one (any, a hint of, an iota), diddly-squat, goose egg, hill of beans, nada, naught, nil, nix, none, not anything, not a sausage, nothing, nothing at all, nothingness, nought, nowt, null, nullity, o, oh, sod all, squat, sweet Fanny Adams, sweet F.A., void, zero, ZILCH, zip, zippo

- someone who is considered insignificant or of no importance:

amateur, bozo, brat, commoner, cypher, dandiprat, dwarf, git, gnat, half-pint, insect, insignificancy, insignificant person, johnny, lightweight, little guy (man), man of straw, mediocrity, minnow, nix, no-hoper, no-mark, nobody, non-person, non-starter, nonbeing, nonentity, nothing, nullity, number, pawn, person of little consequence (no account, no importance), pigmy, pip-squeak, pup, puppy, pygmy, runt, second-rater, shrimp, small beer (fry, potato, potatoes), snippersnapper, spear carrier, sprat, squirt, squit, statistic, stripling, twerk, twerp, twit, unknown, upstart, whippersnapper, wimp, zero, ZILCH

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“ZILCH reminds us that even nothing is worth something, and that even a nobody is a somebody!”

HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:


Paul Smith, IBAN: DE75 7316 0000 0002 5477 40

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