So, What Does 'Z For Zachariah' Actually Mean?

In the new film Z For Zachariah, Margot Robbie portrays Ann, the last surviving person on earth following a nuclear apocalypse... at least until a man shows up, John Loomis, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. The two develop a strong emotional bond under the belief that they're the last two people on earth, and then Chris Pine's character, Caleb, shows up to complicate matters. Tension arises among the three characters as the two men vie for Ann's affection in a bleak setting. The film certainly packs in a lot of drama, but one thing it never addresses is the meaning of its title. Pretty strange stuff — so for all you curious fans out there wondering what does Z For Zachariah mean, here's your answer.

Z For Zachariah is based on the 1974 novel of the same name by the late author Robert C. O'Brien, and thankfully the book does give an explanation for its cryptic title. In the book, it's revealed that growing up, Ann owned a Biblical alphabet book that went from "A for Adam" to "Z for Zachariah". Since she knew the story of Adam and Eve, where Adam is the first man, she assumed that Zachariah would be the last man, since Adam was listed first in the book and Zachariah last. After she meets Loomis, she thinks of him as Zachariah, since he is the last man on earth (as far as she knows).

Although the reasoning for the title isn't addressed in the movie like it is in the book, it still makes sense, seeing how Ann believes, for awhile, that John is the last man on Earth. The film is the latest in Hollywood's long history of post-apocalyptic movies featuring only a handful of survivors — here are a look at a few more (all of which have much less confusing names, I might add).

The Last Woman On Earth

Somewhat similar in plot to Z For Zachariah, this 1960 film also features a love triangle among the last three survivors on earth, who arise from the depths of a scuba trip in the Caribbean to find everyone else wiped out.

The World, The Flesh, And The Devil

This 1959 film also uses the two surviving men, one woman dynamic, but takes place in the always creepy abandoned New York City. The movie also features a desolate Times Square scene, a tool that would later be used to stirring effect in films such as Vanilla Sky and I Am Legend.

The Last Man On Earth

Not to be confused with Will Forte's amazing TV show, this 1964 Vincent Price starrer was the first film based on Richard Matheson's novel I Am Legend, about a man navigating a world where almost everyone else has been turned into vampires by a virus.

The Omega Man

The second film based on I Am Legend, Charlton Heston takes over the lead role in this 1971 version.

I Am Legend

Can you guess what book this one was based on? Will Smith hunts CGI vampires in this 2007 adaptation of Matheson's book, and it remains one of Smith's biggest blockbusters.

A Boy And His Dog

Did you know that in a nuclear apocalypse, your dog communicates with you telepathically and helps you find people to have sex with? No? Well, that's what happens in this movie.


Tom Cruise thinks he's the last man on the planet, scouring it for resources following an alien invasion, but there's more going on up in space than he initially realizes in this clever 2013 sci-fi flick.


This 2013 thriller starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton features a train full of survivors after climate change causes a global ice age, but by the end of the film (spoiler!) the world's population is reduced to just two.

As you can see, there have been plenty of times people have survived the apocalypse. Odds are you'll be just fine when the end comes, and, judging by some of these movies, you might even get a date out of it!

Images: Roadside Attractions