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 Vladimir Putin’s Russia, which in recent years has become ground zero for harboring cybercriminals, has begun aggressively fighting to protect hackers that get caught overseas. Wired, "Russia Fails to Stop Alleged Hacker from Facing US Charges," 13 Nov. 2019 The Arctic is ground zero for climate change, and what happens in the Arctic has an astonishing trickle-down (or perhaps flood-down) effect on the rest of the planet. Jenna Schnuer, National Geographic, "Exploring the Arctic can be life-changing. Here’s how to do it responsibly.," 25 Sep. 2019 But as ground zero for activities like heli-skiing, ice climbing, and glacier hiking, Alaska is also attracting adventurers with money to burn exploring the most exciting terrain in the United States. Ashley Mateo, Town & Country, "Explore the Last Frontier of Luxury Travel In the U.S.: Alaska," 23 Aug. 2019 For years, Clackamas County has served as ground zero for criminal cases involving faith-healing parents., "Longtime Clackamas County prosecutor says he will run for DA," 8 Aug. 2019 Now my house is ground zero for everything that has gone wrong with this project. Nick Ferraro, Twin Cities, "Inver Grove Heights neighborhood fights plan for mini storage near homes, says too many trees taken down," 12 Nov. 2019 The line at Franklin Barbeque in Austin, ground zero of the modern barbecue boom, is legendary, a veritable tailgate party that has become as much a part of the experience as the transcendent brisket that is its ostensible goal. Jody Horton, Smithsonian, "How Three Guys From Houston Are Cooking Up a Revolution in Texas Barbecue," 23 Oct. 2019 The forest is ground zero for Swiss Needle Cast, a fungal disease that stunts Douglas Firs, dramatically reducing harvest yields. oregonlive, "Failing forestry: Oregon’s forestry department is on an unsustainable path," 20 Oct. 2019 This period, the Regency era, was ground zero for British dandyism. Austin Grossman, The Atlantic, "Monocles Were Never Cool," 13 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

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Ground zero.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 11 December 2019.

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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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heavy with or as if with moisture

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