\ 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Mortuary on Canal Street is using timed ticketing to eliminate lines and is providing laser guns to patrons to zap the ghouls at a safe distance. Doug Maccash | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "5 New Orleans haunted houses and Halloween attractions 2020: Prepare to be scared," 6 Oct. 2020 When scientists come along and zap a sediment sample with light, those electrons get released, giving off photons in the process. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Humans reached Saudi Arabia at least 120,000 years ago," 18 Sep. 2020 Cheryl Gill told me to zap it in the microwave it in the husk for three minutes. Karina Bland, The Arizona Republic, "It may sound corny, but some things about summer are too sweet to miss," 5 Aug. 2020 It's captured data about coronal mass ejections, which are space weather events that zap our planet's satellites and electrical grids and endanger astronauts. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Here, Enjoy This 10-Year Time Lapse of the Sun," 26 June 2020 The device runs on three AA batteries and uses UV light to attract mosquitos and zap them. Travel + Leisure, "The 11 Best Bug-zapping Lamps for Summer," 26 June 2020 That's why one of the easiest hacks for combating cell phone overload is to zap the color out of your phone by putting it in grayscale mode. Lauren Kent, CNN, "Try this smartphone hack and other tricks to reduce your screen time," 11 June 2020 Confidence in the stock market was zapped on Wednesday with equities in Europe and the U.S. sinking and only a portion of that drop looking set to be recovered on Thursday. Sam Unsted, Bloomberg.com, "Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day," 8 May 2020 The song is just zapped of a lot of its energy because of the circumstances. Maggie Fremont, EW.com, "American Idol recap: The Top 20 make the most of first-ever remote show," 27 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Giant robots zap empty intensive care rooms with microbe-killing UV rays. Washington Post, "Inside a Florida hospital, coronavirus cases wane as strained staff brace for a fall surge," 7 Oct. 2020 Just make sure to do your research before your first zap. Audrey Noble, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Laser Hair Removal Guide for Dark Skin," 17 July 2020 This lets the fabric zap microorganisms to prevent them from reproducing. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "What If Your Face Mask Could Kill Coronavirus With Electricity?," 5 June 2020 Hazel tells Five, and the two zap away as a giant nuclear explosion appears in the distance, wiping out everyone else. Rachel Paige, refinery29.com, "R29 Binge Club: Umbrella Academy Season 2 Recap," 3 Aug. 2020 Antiseptic dispensers and a UV lamp to zap harmful organisms can be added. oregonlive, "5 ways home design was forever changed by the coronavirus: Need for a hygiene station, surplus food storage, dedicated home office," 19 June 2020 Even inside, houseplants have been shown to improve productivity and zap pollutants in the air—all while looking good in the process. Lindsey Olander, Condé Nast Traveler, "Create An Indoor Garden at Home With These Plants and Plant Accessories," 1 June 2020 But after the skin-deep injection, researchers must hold a device over the spot that gives a little electrical zap. NBC News, "2nd coronavirus vaccine trial begins in the U.S., with a pinch and a zap," 9 Apr. 2020 Batters have to wear shock collars and the opposing team is allowed 10 zaps per inning. Danny Hermosillo, Houston Chronicle, "#CancelHouston: Comedian Daniel Tosh bashes Houston Astros on social media," 20 Feb. 2020

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.

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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



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Statistics for zap

Cite this Entry

“Zap.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zap. Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for zap

Nglish: Translation of zap for Spanish Speakers

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