\ 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 Additionally, the loss of many pleasurable activities in a COVID lifestyle can lead to stress, which can lead to a depressed mood, which can zap a person’s energy. Natasha Gural, Forbes, "The High And Low Of Van Gogh: From Blue Chip Masterpiece To Immersive Escapism," 28 Feb. 2021 Another idea previously pursued by the Army was that that because the plasma filaments conduct electricity, they could be used to zap IEDs from a distance, while European researchers are trying to use them to control lightning. David Hambling, Forbes, "New U.S. Army Laser Machinegun Fires ‘Bullets’ Of Light," 11 Mar. 2021 Some pundits predicted that Trump's lack of Twitter access would zap him of much of his sway. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Trump's raucous CPAC reemergence casts long shadow over Biden," 1 Mar. 2021 The Shredder tool can zap any kind of file, even the ones that the Finder steadfastly refuses to purge. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, "New CleanMyMac X Works With M1 Macs And Detects Silver Sparrow Malware," 25 Feb. 2021 Perhaps a parting of clouds permitted a few more sunbeams to zap the air at the official National Weather Service station at Reagan National Airport. Washington Post, "It was 60 degrees on Tuesday, the warmest day of 2021," 24 Feb. 2021 The cereal box-sized instrument is equipped with a suite of lasers that will zap nearby rocks to learn more about their chemical and mineralogical composition. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "We’ve Never Heard What Mars Sounds Like. Percy Will Change That.," 18 Feb. 2021 Using a cell that contains fluorescent proteins, researchers zap the region in question with a laser to darken the molecules and then trace how long the fluorescence takes to diffuse back in from other parts of the cell. Mitch Leslie, Science | AAAS, "Sloppy science or groundbreaking idea? Theory for how cells organize contents divides biologists," 21 Jan. 2021 Imagine a weapon that can zap 99.9% of airborne COVID-19 virus particles from any indoor space within 30 minutes. Ron Hurtibise, sun-sentinel.com, "Can virus-zapping air purifiers make cruise ships, hotels and other indoor spaces safe?," 12 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The machine also features LG TurboSteam technology to zap wrinkles and odors in just 10 minutes. Korin Miller, Forbes, "The 9 Best Washers And Dryers For Upgrading Your Laundry Room," 17 Mar. 2021 The hot dishes on Baumé’s menu ($98/person), including ora king salmon mousse wrapped in poached leek, required only a quick zap in the microwave. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, "Bay Area's fine dining scene is still alive as takeout - if you can tweezer your own salad," 16 Feb. 2021 Pickard's happy hour crowd were swapping digital cash in milliseconds at one cent a zap. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Confessions of a Bitcoin believer: One former miner’s journey from zealot to skeptic," 7 Feb. 2021 The Spurs have new teammates — robots whose role is to zap germs, including the coronavirus, inside the AT&T Center. Brandon Lingle, ExpressNews.com, "Introducing the Spurs’ new teammates: Germ-zapping robots from San Antonio’s Xenex," 14 Jan. 2021 Components designed to zap germs have been folded into a slew of air purifiers, wireless chargers, and refrigerators, launching a new breed of multi-use Swiss Army gadgets. Boone Ashworth, Wired, "It's a Big Year for ‘Clean Tech’ at CES," 12 Jan. 2021 Doctors take precautions to avoid damaging the glands when administering radiation therapy, which can, with a single misdirected zap, compromise the delicate tissues. Katherine J. Wu New York Times, Star Tribune, "Doctors may have found secretive new organs in the center of your head," 31 Oct. 2020 The 2-in-1 Pet Upholstery Tool works dry to pull out stubborn pet hair and wet to zap stains on furniture fabrics and mattresses. Sarah Bogdan, Good Housekeeping, "5 Best Carpet Cleaners of 2020," 19 Oct. 2020 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

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 21 Apr. 2021.

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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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