Etymologies are strange and uncertain things. Does the game of TENNIS get its naame from the French tenez 'hold on', or from Tinnis, a place in Lower Egypt which makes cloth such as covers tennis balls? Nobody knows. (However, French did give us LOVE, from l'oeuf 'the egg', drawn like a zero.) With the examples that follow, you can be sure that the modern English word derives from the rather odd ball of thread I give you to trace the word back to its origin. How many of the 25 word origins can you decipher (another word related to zero)? Fifteen would be jolly (French joli 'pretty') good!
Ashley, Leonard R. N.
Word Ways: Vol. 16
, Article 19.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.butler.edu/wordways/vol16/iss1/19