Okay, cards on the table. I’m not entirely sure this is a real word. It turned up in the book I’m reading with my book group, ‘Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine’ by Gail Honeyman. The full quote is:
‘I’d cleaned the bathroom and washed the kitchen floor, taken out the recycling and arranged all the tins in the cupboard so that the labels were facing forwards in zetabetical order.’
I can’t find anything on this in Wikipedia (gasp!) and Word has given it a red underline (although I don’t trust that anyway). But, I’m forging ahead with it as the word of the week anyway, because I want it to be true. So, let’s pretend it is.
Presumably to arrange something in zetabetical order means alphabetising backwards, i.e. from ‘z’. This would make sense for the heroine of the book – she’s not one for doing things the ‘normal’ way.
It also makes sense when you consider that zeta is the ancestor of zed, the name of the Latin letter ‘Z’ in English. But, anyone with a little bit of knowledge of the Greek alphabet (this is the most poncey thing I’ve ever written) will know that zeta is the sixth letter, not the last. So what does this mean for the order of Eleanor’s tins? But that way etymological madness lies, so I'm going to leave it there.