\ 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 weapons are also outfitted with little screens that show augmented reality in certain places on the course, but those are really just distractions from the main goal of zapping the human opponents on either team: scientists or marines. Richard Tribou, orlandosentinel.com, "New cruise ship Norwegian Encore brings end of era to Florida," 20 Nov. 2019 Dermatologists have lasers and needles that supposedly zap away the clumps. Sara Chodosh, Popular Science, "Want to get rid of cellulite? There’s only one thing worth trying.," 30 Dec. 2019 Other researchers zap male mosquitoes with a small dose of radiation, sterilizing them before releasing them into the wild. NBC News, "Bacteria-infected mosquitoes take bite out of deadly dengue," 21 Nov. 2019 As the Mandalorian blasted, zapped and punched his way past multiple stormtroopers to rescue Baby Yoda, there was one character conspicuously missing. Will Thorne, chicagotribune.com, "‘The Mandalorian’: 5 burning questions from episode 3," 21 Nov. 2019 First, the practitioner applies a topical product with silver nanoparticles that grab on to hair follicles, then the laser zaps the particles and the hair in the process. Zuzu Snyder, Marie Claire, "The Next 25 Years of Beauty," 10 Oct. 2019 There’s an herbal, grassy finish here that belies the malt and zaps away some heft. BostonGlobe.com, "Here are the two Oktoberfest beers our columnist is drinking in 2019 - The Boston Globe," 17 Sep. 2019 Morin warns feelings of fatigue and anxiety can zap motivation. Erin Jensen, USA TODAY, "2020 really could be a New Year, new you! How to keep those resolutions," 31 Dec. 2019 As always, please be tactful when zapping back to plant investment ideas. Jason Karaian, Quartz, "If you have a time machine, go back and tell yourself to buy these stocks," 24 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But the rogue charges that escape are enough to dazzle observers, inspire awe and fear (which is fair—the zaps do kill a few dozen people in the US every year), and make some magnificent thunder. Rob Verger, Popular Science, "Dissecting a lightning strike, from flash to boom," 10 Feb. 2020 With the front and rear electric motors combining for a 2.5-second zap of 750 horsepower and 774 lb-ft of torque, the Taycan's launch is even more unhinged than the Tesla Model S's Ludicrous mode. Eric Tingwall, Car and Driver, "Porsche's Taycan Turbo S Redefines Quick for Performance Sedans," 29 Jan. 2020 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

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 26 Feb. 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.

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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

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