ULEZ, uljez, izlaz

London has just extended the boundary of its Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). Drivers of motor vehicles causing heavy emissions must pay to drive in the ULEZ. The word ULEZ has the shape and feel of some Croatian words. The common prefix u– means ‘in’ or ‘into’ and is derived from the preposition u. (In other Slavonic languages, such as Russian and Polish, the corresponding prefix and preposition is typically v).    

I looked in an online dictionary https://glosbe.com/hr/en
Disappointingly, there doesn’t seem to be a Croatian word ulez, but there are two near misses:

  • uljez means ‘intruder’, ‘invader’, ‘trespasser’
  • ulaz means ‘entry’, ‘entrance’, ‘admission’. The related verb is ulaziti ‘enter’, ‘go in’.

Using the acronym

When I’ve heard people talking about this zone, they have generally called it ‘the ULEZ’. That seems fine if the person you’re talking already knows what you’re talking about.

But if I were using the acronym out of the blue without introduction, I would probably call it the ‘ULEZ zone’. Although Z in the acronym theoretically makes the word zone redundant, including that word is a kindness to the audience, making it easier for them to grasp what kind of entity is under discussion.

I assume similar thinking explains why the phrase PIN number is so common, even though the capital letter N is short for number and so apparently makes number redundant.

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