0 (zero) is a number, and the numerical digit used to represent that number in numerals. It fulfills a central role in mathematics as the additive identity of the integers, real numbers, and many other algebraic structures. As a digit, 0 is used as a placeholder in place value systems. Names for the number 0 in English include zero, nought (UK), naught (US) (/nɔːt/), nil, or—in contexts where at least one adjacent digit distinguishes it from the letter "O"—oh or o (/oʊ/). Informal or slang terms for zero include zilch and zip. Ought and aught (/ɔːt/), as well as cipher, have also been used historically.
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. In pre-Islamic time the word ṣifr (Arabic صفر) had the meaning "empty". Sifr evolved to mean zero when it was used to translate śūnya (Sanskrit: शून्य) from India. The first known English use of zero was in 1598.
The Italian mathematician Fibonacci (c. 1170–1250), who grew up in 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. The Italian word zefiro was already in existence (meaning "west wind" from Latin and Greek zephyrus) and may have influenced the spelling when transcribing Arabic ṣifr.