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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Synonyms for zero

Synonyms: Noun

aught, cipher, goose egg, naught (also nought), nil, nothing, o, oh, zilch, zip

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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

The advisers agreed to push for three zeros: tariffs, subsidies and non-tariff barriers. Bob Davis, WSJ, "Making Sense of President Trump’s Call for Zero Tariffs," 25 Aug. 2018 In order to pull up images of the plane, Kanye unlocked his phone, repeatedly hitting the zero button on the touchscreen, apparently revealing that his iPhone passcode is 6 zeros in a row. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "Kanye West's Meeting With Donald Trump in 6 of Its Strangest Moments," 11 Oct. 2018 That’s no small thing in a country where 13 zeros have been lopped off the peso note since 1970. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Argentina’s Monetary Rescue," 16 Dec. 2018 No longer: Sunny Cove extends virtual addresses to 57 meaningful bits (with the top 7 bits again either all zeroes or all ones, copying bit 56), with physical memory addresses of up to 52 bits. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Intel unveils a new architecture for 2019: Sunny Cove," 12 Dec. 2018 In August the bolívar had five zeros cut off due to rapid inflation. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Bolivarian Bull Case for Cryptocurrency," 3 Oct. 2018 This is by far the longest a tournament has stretched without being blighted by those double zeroes on the scoreboard when the final whistle blew. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Sorry soccer haters, but this World Cup is absolutely awesome," 25 June 2018 When the clock struck zeroes, Our Lady of Peace lacrosse goalie Jenelle Cedillo lifted her stick skyward and slammed it to the turf in celebration. Don Norcross, sandiegouniontribune.com, "D-II girls lacrosse: Pilots’ triumph gets party started," 12 May 2018 To put that in perspective, an octillion is a one with 27 zeros after it. Jared Gilmour, miamiherald, "Teacher was raped and murdered in 1992. Gum left at a school just caught the killer, Pa. cops say," 27 June 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

Despite monster results in internet search, Alphabet Inc. shares fell in after-hours trading Monday as investors zeroed in on shrinking margins and slower revenue growth overall. Rob Copeland, WSJ, "Google Parent Shows Cost of Branching Out," 4 Feb. 2019 The list of places to go is endless, so your best bet is zeroing in on one specific neighborhood. Tara Lamont-djite, Harper's BAZAAR, "What to Wear Around One of New York City’s Coolest Neighborhoods," 8 Oct. 2018 The talks are set to pick up Tuesday in Washington, zeroing in on automotive rules of origin, agriculture and legal dispute mechanisms, Bloomberg's Eric Martin writes. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Compromise may be on the trade menu with China," 23 Apr. 2018 The same trend develops when zeroing in on the Lewis-Dalton Era. Paul Dehner Jr., Cincinnati.com, "Marvin Lewis-Mike Brown fact or fiction: Cincinnati Bengals don't win big games with Lewis?," 11 Jan. 2018 But it was zeroed out in the NASA budget proposed by President Trump last week. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, "Astronomers’ Dark Energy Hopes Fade to Gray," 19 Feb. 2018 The Alabama coach insists the Crimson Tide is zeroed in on its next opponent, LSU, which will visit Tuscaloosa for an 8 p.m. SEC showdown Tuesday. Rainer Sabin, AL.com, "Live updates: Alabama takes on LSU," 13 Feb. 2018 Workers’ rights groups have zeroed in on the tipped minimum wage as one culprit in America’s growing income inequality. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "DC repealed a ballot measure giving restaurant workers a raise. But it might be back.," 12 Dec. 2018 In a perfect Venn diagram of a marketing stunt, the coffee-slash-donut chain has zeroed in on the cultural zeitgeist of experiential marketing and paired it with the insatiable hunger for all things tiny homes. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "You can now stay in a tiny house powered by coffee," 24 Oct. 2018

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

1821, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1911, 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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Statistics for zero

Last Updated

26 Jan 2019

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)

technical : 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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