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For more information about the W3C website, see the Webmaster FAQ. Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about the number and digit 0. Informal or slang terms for zero include zilch and zip. The word zero came into the English language via French zéro from Italian zero, Italian contraction of Venetian zevero form of ‘Italian zefiro via ṣafira or ṣifr. North Africa and is credited with introducing the decimal system to Europe, used the term zephyrum. This became zefiro in Italian, and was then contracted to zero in Venetian.
There are different words used for the number or concept of zero depending on the context. For the simple notion of lacking, the words nothing and none are often used. Sometimes the words nought, naught and aught are used. Ancient Egyptian numerals were base 10. They used hieroglyphs for the digits and were not positional. By 1770 BC, the Egyptians had a symbol for zero in accounting texts. By the middle of the 2nd millennium BC, the Babylonian mathematics had a sophisticated sexagesimal positional numeral system.
The Babylonian placeholder was not a true zero because it was not used alone. Nor was it used at the end of a number. The back of Epi-Olmec stela C from Tres Zapotes, the second oldest Long Count date discovered. Since the eight earliest Long Count dates appear outside the Maya homeland, it is generally believed that the use of zero in the Americas predated the Maya and was possibly the invention of the Olmecs.