zero

noun
ze·ro | \ˈzē-(ˌ)rō, ˈzir-(ˌ)ō\
plural zeros also zeroes

Definition of zero 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : the arithmetical symbol 0 or 0̸ denoting the absence of all magnitude or quantity

b : additive identity specifically : the number between the set of all negative numbers and the set of all positive numbers

c : a value of an independent variable that makes a function equal to zero +2 and −2 are zeros of f(x)=x2−4

2 : the absence of a measurable quantity — see Table of Numbers

3a(1) : the point of departure in reckoning specifically : the point from which the graduation of a scale (as of a thermometer) begins

(2) : the temperature represented by the zero mark on a thermometer

b : the setting or adjustment of the sights of a firearm that causes it to shoot to point of aim at a desired range

4 : an insignificant person or thing : nonentity

5a : a state of total absence or neutrality

b : the lowest point : nadir

6 : something arbitrarily or conveniently designated zero

zero

adjective

Definition of zero (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : of, relating to, or being a zero

b : having no magnitude or quantity : not any zero growth zero tolerance

c(1) : having no phonetic manifestation the zero modification in the past tense of cut

(2) : having no modified inflectional form a zero plural

2a of a cloud ceiling : limiting vision to 50 feet (15 meters) or less

b of horizontal visibility : limited to 165 feet (50.3 meters) or less

zero

verb
zeroed; zeroing; zeroes

Definition of zero (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to determine or adjust the zero of zero a rifle

2a : to concentrate firepower on the exact range of usually used with in

b : to bring to bear on the exact range of a target usually used with in

intransitive verb

1 : to adjust fire on a specific target usually used with in

2 : to close in on or focus attention on an objective usually used with in investigators are zeroing in on a suspect

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Examples of zero in a Sentence

Noun

Two minus two equals zero. It's supposed to fall below zero tonight. The temperature is 10° above zero. They are working to reduce the mortality rate to zero.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And Tom Irwin, who is vicious — like a rooster seeing a speck of blood — he just zeros in for the kill! Nina Metz, chicagotribune.com, "My worst moment: 'Chicago P.D.'s' Amy Morton recalls the job that required her to dress as a sea nymph," 12 June 2018 After abandoning grand plans to build its own self-driving car, Apple is working with Volkswagen to put its zeros and ones on wheels, the Times reports. Alex Davies, WIRED, "This Week in the Future of Cars: Burn, Baby, Burn," 25 May 2018 Here, Riley zeroes in on the performances black employees in Silicon Valley and beyond must undertake just to exist in the same space as their white colleagues and bosses. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Sorry to Bother You Has an Eerily Familiar Villain," 10 July 2018 Thousands of existing Southwest Portland addresses have leading zeroes, which can be confusing for dispatchers trying to direct emergency personnel in the event of a crisis. Andrew Theen, OregonLive.com, "Plan to shift thousands of addresses to 'South Portland' heads to City Council," 30 May 2018 In avoiding a three-game sweep Sunday, the Orioles (20-50) finally put some crooked letters on an Oriole Park scoreboard that had shown nothing but zeros and occasional ones. Eduardo A. Encina, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles beat Marlins, 10-4, to end 9-game slide, earn first home win since Mother's Day," 17 June 2018 Oak Ridge says its new baby can deliver a peak performance of 200 quadrillion calculations per second (that’s 200 followed by 15 zeros) using a standard measure used to rate supercomputers, or 200 petaflops. Tom Simonite, WIRED, "The US Again Has World’s Most Powerful Supercomputer," 8 June 2018 The students were all given zeros and must retake their final exams. Zachary Hansen, ajc, "80 Gwinnett high school students caught cheating on final exams, teachers say," 31 May 2018 The pitchers took advantage of the conditions, as Phillies starter Ben Lively matched zeroes with Pirates counterpart Ivan Nova. Scott Lauber, Philly.com, "Odubel Herrera leads Phillies to win over Pirates," 20 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

There is a decidedly non-zero possibility that the federal government will shut down on Friday night. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Brainstorm Health: Human CRISPR Trials, Hospital Run Drug Company, CHIP Extension," 18 Jan. 2018 Davis has played in just 13 NFL games, made zero appearances last year, and posted a passer rating of 66.2 in his three performances with the Browns in 2015. Matt Calkins, The Seattle Times, "Criticize Colin Kaepernick? Fine. But don’t withhold a job from him," 5 June 2017 There’s absolutely zero evidence that dogs or cats can contract or transmit the virus. Patty Khuly, miamiherald, "Should I worry that my dog or cat will get Zika?," 10 May 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The question most election observers are zeroing in on isn’t necessarily if Republican Lesko is going to lose but whether Democrats can narrow the margin by which Trump and Franks won. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Debbie Lesko and Hiral Tipirneni face off for Trent Franks’s seat in Arizona’s special election," 23 Apr. 2018 Under the bill, these resources would have been zeroed out. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, "Why Kentucky teachers are fighting so hard over the vetoed budget bill," 10 Apr. 2018 The Trump administration’s budget proposal released last week again zeroed out funding for the earthquake early warning program administered by the U.S. Geological Survey. Rong-gong Lin Ii, latimes.com, "Trump again seeks to end funding for earthquake early warning system," 20 Feb. 2018 Since its beginnings over 400 years ago, microscopy has made leaps and bounds—even zeroing in on individual atoms. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Watch Cells Move Within Living Animals in This Breathtaking Footage," 30 Apr. 2018 Same goes for the San Diego search, which ESPN also reported has zeroed in on Utah Valley's Mark Pope. Jeff Greer, The Courier-Journal, "At the Final Four, David Padgett hopes to find 'the right opportunity'," 1 Apr. 2018 Officers zeroed in on his location about 10:15 a.m. after a woman found the suspect in her shed. Lyndsay Winkley, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Suspected burglar arrested after trying to hide in attic," 25 Mar. 2018 On Wednesday evening, The Washington Post reported that special counsel Robert Mueller is zeroing in on Blackwater founder and all-around bad guy Erik Prince. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "If there was “no collusion” why did the Trump transition team work so hard to set up a back channel with Russia?," 8 Mar. 2018 And just as Republicans transcended their intra-party discord by uniting against Obamacare, Democrats are zeroing in on G.O.P. efforts to dismantle the controversial health-care law. Abigail Tracy, The Hive, "Smelling Blood, Democrats Prepare to Put Nail in Trumpcare Coffin," 12 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'zero.' 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 zero

Noun

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1810, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1913, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for zero

Noun

French or Italian; French zéro, from Italian zero, from Medieval Latin zephirum, from Arabic ṣifr

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Learn More about zero

Phrases Related to zero

from zero

zero in on

zero out

zero tolerance

Statistics for zero

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for zero

The first known use of zero was in 1598

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More Definitions for zero

zero

noun

English Language Learners Definition of zero

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the number 0

: the temperature shown by the zero mark on a thermometer

: nothing at all

zero

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of zero (Entry 2 of 3)

: not any

zero

verb

English Language Learners Definition of zero (Entry 3 of 3)

: to set (a measuring device, such as a scale) so that it reads 0

zero

noun
ze·ro | \ˈzē-rō, ˈzir-ō\
plural zeros or zeroes

Kids Definition of zero

1 : the numerical symbol 0 meaning the absence of all size or quantity

2 : the point on a scale (as on a thermometer) from which measurements are made

3 : the temperature shown by the zero mark on a thermometer

4 : a total lack of anything : nothing His contribution was zero.

zero

noun
ze·ro | \ˈzē-(ˌ)rō, ˈzi(ə)r-(ˌ)ō \
plural zeros also zeroes

Medical Definition of zero 

1 : the arithmetical symbol 0 or 0̸ denoting the absence of all magnitude or quantity

2a : the point of departure in reckoning specifically : the point from which the graduation of a scale (as of a thermometer) begins

b : the temperature represented by the zero mark on a thermometer

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More from Merriam-Webster on zero

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for zero

Spanish Central: Translation of zero

Nglish: Translation of zero for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of zero for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about zero

Comments on zero

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