\ 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 In other ways, though, time has zapped some of the thriller’s zing. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "At Garden Theatre, aging ‘Deathtrap’ can still find the thrills | Review," 17 Oct. 2019 When patients who have been treated for highly infectious illnesses are discharged, the human housekeepers are followed by a cleaning robot that zaps germs and microorganisms with an ultraviolet light. CBS News, "Hospitals mobilize to fight deadly superbug doctors call a "double whammy"," 30 July 2019 Last but not least, the hydrophobic down filling and DWR shell limit the heat-zapping effects of moisture. Adrienne Donica, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Sleeping Bags for Spending the Night Under the Stars," 29 Oct. 2019 Anyone battling the pesky critters known as lice, or superlice, will be thrilled to learn a lice-zapping device has been developed by an Israeli company. Cindy Krischer Goodman, sun-sentinel.com, "Cool new health wearables do everything from killing head lice to curing incontinence," 2 July 2019 Sparkes said that Sunny took off after she was zapped by electric fencing. Robyn Merrett, PEOPLE.com, "Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky's Dog Sunny Found After Running Off and Going Missing in Australia," 9 Sep. 2019 During Scott Kelly’s year in space, the astronaut was zapped relentlessly by radiation — the equivalent of 10 chest X-rays a day for more than 11 months starting in March of 2015. NBC News, "A trip to Mars could cause brain damage. Here's how NASA aims to protect astronauts.," 28 Aug. 2019 Two to three liters of water is a good amount to have, as hiking above tree line means 14,000-foot sunshine can zap you of hydration fast. Antonio Olivero, The Know, "A quick guide to hiking Colorado’s tallest 14er: Mount Elbert," 29 Aug. 2019 The chemists then used the tip of an atomic force microscope to zap off the CO groups, eventually removing them all to create their 18-carbon ring (simulated above). Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Carbon atoms marry to form first-ever ring," 15 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Keeping them clean, though, might require something with a bit more zap. Wired, "Tesla Has Found a Use for Lasers—Cleaning Glass," 3 Dec. 2019 What a bright little treat for a chilly morning: a warm muffin, either freshly baked or given a quick zap, with a crunchy walnut top. Kari Sonde, Washington Post, "8 recipes for the pumpkin spice lovers — and the haters," 14 Oct. 2019 Some even are looking beyond drugs, testing if electrical zaps in the brain, along a corridor of neural connections, might activate it in ways that slow Alzheimer’s damage. Washington Post, "Scientists rethink Alzheimer’s, diversifying the drug search," 10 Sep. 2019 Strongly stimulating these neurons is apparently unpleasant; mice in the study avoided electrical zaps to the area. Kelly Servick, Science | AAAS, "Sweet, fatty foods could remodel the brain to drive overeating," 27 June 2019 According to Yahoo, a Pittsburgh woman heard a zap from her headphones and felt a shock in her mouth earlier this year. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "A Teen Died After Reportedly Being Shocked by His Headphones," 10 Dec. 2018 The Pixel line was already known for its powerhouse of a camera, but Night Sight increases its utility by cutting through darkness without the violent zap of a flash. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Pixel's Night Sight is Declaring War on Flash Photography," 15 Nov. 2018 What feels like a subtle tightening of the muscles and some mild TASER-like tingles at 10 or 20 percent intensity grows to an extreme gripping and upward pull with sharper zaps. Jolene Edgar, Allure, "What Is EMSulpt? Here's Everything You Need to Know About the Body-Contouring Treatment," 17 Sep. 2018 Carrying photography equipment and moving around in places that aren’t up to code brings with it other hazards, too, ranging from electrical zaps to collapsing ceilings. Anna Orso, Philly.com, "The woman who died in Pennypack Creek was a 'queen' in the urban exploration world," 6 June 2018

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.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zap?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=z&file=zap00001. Accessed 16 December 2019.

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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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on zap

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for zap

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with zap

Spanish Central: Translation of zap

Nglish: Translation of zap for Spanish Speakers

Comments on zap

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having a smooth flowing sound

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