ground zero


Definition of ground zero 

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

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

3 : the very beginning : square one

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Examples of ground zero in a Sentence

ground zero in the battle over immigration laws a city that was once ground zero for the insurance industry

Recent Examples on the Web

On a recent Tuesday afternoon at Mr. Ji’s cafe in the Hongdae neighborhood—ground zero for Seoul’s animal cafes—a meerkat cuddled with a leopard tortoise. Dasl Yoon, WSJ, "That Raccoon Rooting Through Your Trash Could Be a Big Star in Seoul," 7 Nov. 2018 Organizers of the ground zero ceremony allow politicians to attend, but they've been barred since 2011 from reading names or delivering remarks. Jennifer Peltz And Karen Matthews, Fox News, "US marks 9/11 with somber tributes; Trump speaks at PA site," 12 Sep. 2018 Organizers of the ground zero ceremony allow politicians to attend, but they’ve been barred since 2011 from reading names or delivering remarks. Jennifer Peltz, The Seattle Times, "US marks 9/11 anniversary; Trump to mark it at Pa. memorial," 10 Sep. 2018 Kentucky was ground zero Joseph Gerth's opinion column runs on most Sundays and at various times throughout the week. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "Once again, Matt Bevin blames anything but guns for school shootings," 27 June 2018 That patch of turf from right to left tackle and everywhere in between has been ground zero for getting quarterbacks sacked at a record pace, blowing resources of cap space and draft picks and season-busting injuries. Armando Salguero, miamiherald, "Miami Dolphins' strength emerges from most troubled area on the team," 29 May 2018 Samples from the Korean peninsula showed greater genetic diversity than any other Bd site on Earth, confirming earlier hunches that the region was Bd's ground zero. Matthew Fisher, National Geographic, "Ground Zero of Amphibian 'Apocalypse' Finally Found," 10 May 2018 Casualties Killed in the blast: 250,000 Injured in the blast: 300,000 Killed or Injured by the fallout: 500,000 Only people at ground zero would be instantly and painlessly vaporized by the blast. Daily Intelligencer, "This Is What a Nuclear Bomb Looks Like," 12 June 2018 Hundreds of people have been evacuated in Roditis' neighborhood, which is the ground zero of lava flow in Hawaii's Big island. And Jason Hanna, CNN, "Explosive eruptions added to list of fears for Hawaii residents," 10 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ground zero.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ground zero

1946, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for ground zero

The first known use of ground zero was in 1946

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More Definitions for ground zero

ground zero


English Language Learners 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

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ground zero Encyclopedia article about ground zero

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a private place of worship

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