Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
A shorthand way of writing זכרונו\ה\ם\ן לברכה (zikhronó/á/ám/án livrakhá), which means “may his/her/their memory be a blessing”.
See usage notes below.
ז״ל • (Z.L.)
- Of blessed memory, may he/she/they rest in peace; used after a reference to one or more deceased people.
- The abbreviation ז״ל is nearly always read out as the two words it stands for (see etymology above). This means that its pronunciation depends on whether the referent is a woman, a man, multiple women, or a group of people including at least one man. It is, however, also pronounced /zal/.
- זצ״ל (zatsal)
Pronounced as the words it abbreviates.
ז״ל • (ze l'shono)
- The quotation is often capped off with עכ״ל.