ground zero

noun

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

Day and his colleagues studied pieces of trinitite from various locations; some were within 33 feet (10 m) of ground zero, and others were collected 330 feet (100 m) and 490 feet to 820 feet (150 to 250 m) away. Mike Wall, Space.com, "First Atomic Blast Reveals Clues About Moon Formation," 8 Feb. 2017 That’s because Pittsburgh became ground zero for realizing a running back’s fungibility. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Le’Veon Bell and the Diminishing Value of Running Backs in the NFL," 16 Nov. 2018 The extreme heat of the blast melted the surrounding sandy soil's top layer into a green, radioactive glass known as trinitite for about 1,150 feet (350 meters) in all directions from ground zero. Mike Wall, Space.com, "First Atomic Blast Reveals Clues About Moon Formation," 8 Feb. 2017 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

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

13 Jan 2019

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The first known use of ground zero was in 1946

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More Definitions for ground zero

ground zero

noun

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

More from Merriam-Webster on ground zero

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