\ ˈzap How to pronounce zap (audio) \

Definition of zap

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 used to express a sound made by or as if by a gun
2 used to indicate a sudden or instantaneous occurrence


zapped; zapping

Definition of zap (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to get rid of, destroy, or kill especially with or as if with sudden force
b : to hit with or as if with a sudden concentrated application of force or energy
c : to irradiate especially with microwaves
2a : to propel suddenly or speedily
b : to transport instantaneously
3 : to avoid watching (something, such as a television commercial) by changing channels especially with a remote control or by fast-forwarding a videotape

intransitive verb

1 : to move with speed or force
2 : to change television channels using a remote control



Definition of zap (Entry 3 of 3)

: a pungent or zestful quality : zip also : a sudden forceful blow

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of zap in a Sentence

Verb The flowers were zapped by the cold weather. The aliens in the movie zapped people from spaceships. She reheated her muffin by zapping it in the microwave for a few seconds. I zapped through the channels for a while before falling asleep. We tape the show so we can zap through the commercials.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And the film was financed by Amazon, which aims to zap it to hundreds of millions of Prime members worldwide this fall. Washington Post, 24 Sep. 2021 Even with that backup, the township recently purchased a $225,000 treatment system to better zap the toxic algae. jsonline.com, 2 Sep. 2021 Warm atoms zap around at speeds of hundreds of miles per hour, while extremely cold atoms stand nearly still. Karmela Padavic-callaghan, Wired, 7 Sep. 2021 Many forms of hormonal birth control, for example, can zap zits or regulate and even eliminate your period. Juno Demelo, Glamour, 24 Aug. 2021 Still, something about the process can zap the creativity right out of us. Washington Post, 12 Aug. 2021 This compact germ killer uses UVC LEDs to zap up to 99% of viruses, bacteria, mold and fungi that can be present on airplane trays and other surfaces. Lois Alter Mark, Forbes, 7 June 2021 In Dubai, scientists are plotting to combat heat waves in several ways: sending aircraft to fire chemicals such as silver iodide into clouds to spur precipitation, and sending drones to zap an electrical charge into the clouds to trigger rain. Arkansas Online, 26 July 2021 Perseverance's instruments can zap rocks with lasers to help scientists understand if the rocks on Mars are sedimentary or igneous, which would reveal more about water flow and ancient Martian environments. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 21 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Electric arcs zap across the ring, which can be made as large as a meter in diameter, ripping particles from the moon’s surface. Ramin Skibba, Wired, 22 Sep. 2021 Clorox Paper Towel Wipes are strong, zap grime and sanitize surfaces. Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, 17 Aug. 2021 In simple terms, a zap of lightning transforms that unavailable nitrogen in the atmosphere into something that can help plants grow. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, 11 Aug. 2021 Two nights earlier, what felt like a brain zap jolted me awake. Morgan Stephens, CNN, 23 July 2021 The United Arab Emirates, parched from heatwaves and an arid climate, is testing new technology to zap clouds with electricity to artificially create rain. Christine Fernando, USA TODAY, 21 July 2021 The audience is less likely to zip, zap, or ignore ads when watched live. Kirk Wakefield, Forbes, 7 July 2021 One of these projects involves using catapults to launch small unmanned aircraft which zap clouds with an electric charge. Stephanie Bailey, CNN, 27 May 2021 One of these projects involves using catapults to launch small unmanned aircraft which zap clouds with an electric charge. Stephanie Bailey, CNN, 27 May 2021

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

See More

First Known Use of zap


1929, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1942, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1963, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for zap



Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About zap

Dictionary Entries Near zap




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for zap

Cite this Entry

“Zap.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zap. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for zap



English Language Learners Definition of zap

: to attack, destroy, or kill (someone or something) quickly
: to hit (someone or something) with electricity
: to shoot (someone or something) with an electric gun, laser, etc.


\ ˈzap How to pronounce zap (audio) \
zapped; zapping

Kids Definition of zap

: to hit with or as if with a jolt of electricity Lightning zapped the tree.

More from Merriam-Webster on zap

Nglish: Translation of zap for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!