# Zenzizenzizenzic

**Zenzizenzizenzic** is an obsolete form of mathematical notation representing the eighth power of a number (that is, the zenzizenzizenzic of *x* is *x*^{8}), dating from a time when powers were written out in words rather than as superscript numbers. This term was suggested by Robert Recorde, a 16th-century Welsh writer of popular mathematics textbooks, in his 1557 work *The Whetstone of Witte* (although his spelling was *zenzizenzizenzike*); he wrote that it "*doeth represent the square of squares squaredly*".

At the time Recorde proposed this notation, there was no easy way of denoting the powers of numbers other than squares and cubes. The root word for Recorde's notation is **zenzic**, which is a German spelling of the medieval Italian word *censo*, meaning "squared".[1] Since the square of a square of a number is its fourth power, Recorde used the word **zenzizenzic** (spelled by him as *zenzizenzike*) to express it. Some of the terms had prior use in Latin "zenzicubicus", "zensizensicus" and "zensizenzum".[2] Similarly, as the sixth power of a number is equal to the square of its cube, Recorde used the word *zenzicubike* to express it; a more modern spelling, **zenzicube**, is found in Samuel Jeake's *Logisticelogia*. Finally, the word *zenzizenzizenzic* denotes the square of the square of a number's square, which is its eighth power: in modern notation,

Recorde proposed three mathematical terms by which any power (that is, index or exponent) greater than 1 could be expressed: *zenzic*, i.e. squared; *cubic*; and *sursolid*, i.e. raised to a prime number greater than three, the smallest of which is five. Sursolids were as follows: 5 was the first; 7, the second; 11, the third; 13, the fourth; etc.

Therefore, a number raised to the power of six would be *zenzicubic*, a number raised to the power of seven would be the second sursolid, hence *bissursolid* (not a multiple of two and three), a number raised to the twelfth power would be the "zenzizenzicubic" and a number raised to the power of ten would be *the square of the (first) sursolid*. The fourteenth power was the square of the second sursolid, and the twenty-second was the square of the third sursolid.

Curiously, Jeake's text appears to designate a written exponent of 0 as being equal to an "absolute number, as if it had no Mark", thus using the notation x^{0} to refer to x alone, while a written exponent of 1, in his text, denotes "the Root of any number", thus using the notation x^{1} to refer to what is now known to be x^{0.5}.

The word, as well as the system, is obsolete except as a curiosity; the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has only one citation for it.[3][4]
As well as being a mathematical oddity, it survives as a linguistic oddity: *zenzizenzizenzic* has more Zs than any other word in the OED.[5][6]

Samuel Jeake the Younger gives *zenzizenzizenzizenzike* (the square of the square of the square of the square, or 16th power) in a table in *A Compleat Body of Arithmetick*:[7]

Indices Characters Signification of the Characters 0 N An Absolute Number, as if it had no Mark ... ... ... 16 ℨℨℨℨ A Zenzizenzizenzizenzike or Square of Squares Squaredly Squared ... ... ...

## Notes

- Quinion, Michael, "Zenzizenzizenzic - the eighth power of a number",
*World Wide Words*, retrieved 2010-03-19. - Michael Stifel.
*Arithmetica Integra*(in Latin). Nuremberg. p. 61. - Knight (1868).
- Reilly (2003).
- "Recorde also coined
*zenzizenzizenzic*, the word in the*Oxford English Dictionary*(OED) with more Zs than any other" (Reilly 2003). - Uniquely contains six
*Z*'s. Thus, it's the only*hexazetic*word in the English language. "Numerical Adjectives, Greek and Latin Number Prefixes". phrontistery.info. Retrieved 19 March 2010. - Samuel Jeake (1701).
*A Compleat Body of Arithmetick*. London: T. Newborough. p. 272.

## References

- Hebra, Alexius J. (2003),
*Measure for Measure: The Story of Imperial, Metric, and Other Units*, The Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN 978-0-8018-7072-9. - Knight, Charles (1868),
*The English Cyclopaedia*, Bradbury, Evans, p. 1045. - Reilly, Edwin D. (2003),
*Milestones in Computer Science and Information Technology*, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 3, ISBN 978-1-57356-521-9. - Todd, Richard Watson (2006),
*Much Ado About English*, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, ISBN 978-1-85788-372-5. - Uldrich, Jack (2008), "Chapter 2. The Power of Zenzizenzizenzic",
*Jump the Curve: 50 Essential Strategies to Help Your Company Stay Ahead of Emerging Technologies*, Adams Media, ISBN 978-1-59869-420-8.