\ 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 Build a collection of your favorite photos and memories using a personal bluetooth printer Personal bluetooth printers eliminate the hassle of using a regular printer, getting photo paper, and zapping ink cartridges. Lindsey Vickers, USA TODAY, "15 ways to still celebrate 2020 graduation with friends and family," 30 Apr. 2020 But that was before the pandemic zapped most of the internships up. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "Summer internships have dried up because of the pandemic. Here's how to get ahead without one," 24 Apr. 2020 Aurorae form when charged particles from the sun interact with Earth's magnetic field and zap the electrons of different atoms in the atmosphere. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "The 1,400-Year-Old Red Aurora Mystery Has Finally Been Solved," 3 Apr. 2020 The closure of gyms, social distancing rules and most state governments telling people to stay at home has zapped demand for what Dick's sales of athletic goods. Jordan Valinsky, CNN, "Dick's Sporting Goods is furloughing most of its 40,000 employees," 8 Apr. 2020 Now, the million dollar question: Will LightStrike be able to zap out the novel coronavirus? Dinsa Sachan, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Innovators Are Adapting Existing Technologies to Fight COVID-19," 14 Apr. 2020 As Ellis fought back, one of the deputies zapped her with a stun gun and took her into custody, O’Dell said. oregonlive, "Oregon deputies tase woman who threatened child with sledgehammer, authorities say," 11 Feb. 2020 Intermittently pulsing the tissues with microwaves steadily zapped them of their water without skyrocketing their temperature, Lee explains. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Scientists Pumped Ovarian Tissue Full of Sugar and Microwaved It. Here’s Why," 10 Dec. 2019 At the same time, the TV industry desperately needs the big audiences that sports deliver, especially because viewers are more likely to consume such events live, reducing the threat of zapping past commercials. Brian Lowry, CNN, "Coronavirus forces sports world to make clear that TV increasingly calls the shots," 11 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 The feeling was electric, the quick zaps and relief, the lingering pain and pleasure. Irina Groushevaia, Bon Appétit, "How a Queer-Run Sauna Brought Me Back to My Russian Roots," 19 Feb. 2020 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

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 1 Jun. 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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