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 But the prosecutor was in Boston, making this city ground zero for a startling case in which wealthy families and Hollywood stars were accused of cheating and bribery to get their children into elite colleges., "The Lunder Building at Massachusetts General Hospital. A Globe Spotlight Team report looked at concurrent surgeries at the hospital.," 31 Dec. 2019 Forty percent of it was dumped into Iowa media markets, ground zero for the Democratic campaign, according to data from Advertising Analytics. Anchorage Daily News, "How a fight over health care entangled Elizabeth Warren - and reshaped the Democratic presidential race," 1 Dec. 2019 Yes, that Broward County, ground zero of the infamous hanging chads controversy from the 2000 presidential election when George W. Bush defeated Al Gore. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Netflix Screenwriter Running for Office in Florida’s Broward County," 30 Nov. 2019 The need for foster homes is particularly dire in Scioto County, long considered ground zero in the state’s opioid epidemic. Dan Levin, New York Times, "The Parents Passed a Drug Test. Should They Get Their Children Back?," 22 Nov. 2019 An advantage is understanding the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness in trying to rebuild from ground zero. Mary Grace Keller,, "Q&A: Peer recovery support specialist Stacia Smith on her unique perspective, helping and providing hope for others," 16 Sep. 2019 Start from ground zero and build up and just hope that everybody keeps continuing to get better. Luke Meredith, The Seattle Times, "Iowa State’s defense could be in for a big 2019 season," 11 Apr. 2019 Instead, relief was palpable in Brussels as leaders happily mingled in the summit room of the Europa building, which often been ground zero for European crises. Raf Casert,, "Boris Johnson, European Union reach Brexit deal, setting up weekend drama in British Parliament," 17 Oct. 2019 Instead, relief was palpable in Brussels as leaders happily mingled in the summit room of the Europa building, which has all too often been ground zero for European crises. Anchorage Daily News, "Boris Johnson gets EU Brexit deal; next hurdle is Parliament," 17 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for ground zero

Time Traveler

The first known use of ground zero was in 1946

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Statistics for ground zero

Last Updated

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ground zero.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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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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