Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

ground zero

noun

Simple Definition of ground zero

  • : the point on the earth's surface directly above, below, or at which an explosion (especially a nuclear explosion) occurs

  • : the central point in an area of fast change or intense activity

  • : the beginning state or starting point

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of ground zero

  1. 1 :  the point directly above, below, or at which a nuclear explosion occurs

  2. 2 :  the center or origin of rapid, intense, or violent activity or change; broadly :  center 2a <the party town that served as ground zero for those corporate … bashes — Rich Eisen>

  3. 3 :  the very beginning :  square one

Examples of ground zero in a sentence

  1. ground zero in the battle over immigration laws

  2. <a city that was once ground zero for the insurance industry>



1946

First Known Use of ground zero

1946


Learn More about ground zero


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up ground zero? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a simplified speech bridging languages

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

confounded-person

Which is a synonym of indolent?

lazy melancholy frenetic philistine
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ