The concept of zero first appeared in A.D. 976. The Persian encyclopedist Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Khwarizmi observed that if no number appeared in the tens place, then an empty circle represented a placeholder. However, the mathematician Fibonacci is generally recognized as the inventor of the number zero.

Both the concept of zero and the number itself have had a myriad of origins. First introduced as a placeholder, zero itself came to be used as a number over time.

The exact etymology of zero is disputed by various languages with possible influences including the French "zéro," the Venetian "zero" and the Italian "zefiro." Linguists tend to agree that the progenitor of the term zero originates from the Arabic "safira," which means, "It was empty."