Zan'y

More correctly, Zanny (Italian zanni, a buffoon; Latin sannio, “sanna” means a grimace, and “sanneo” one who makes grimaces).

…for indeed,
He's like the zani to a tumbler
That tries tricks after him to make men laugh.

B. Jonson: Every Man out of his Humour, iv. 2.

“He belonged to one of those dramatic companies called zanni, who went about the country reciting and acting.” —John Inglesant, chap. xxvii

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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