zero

noun
ze·​ro | \ ˈzē-(ˌ)rō How to pronounce zero (audio) , 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

At that point, zeros were a must, and Mickschl delivered. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, "Woodbury grad pitches Augustana to DII softball national title," 3 June 2019 But the newfound zeros at the end of Metz’s paycheck haven't changed her financial philosophy. Glamour, "Chrissy Metz: From 81 Cents in the Bank to Equal Pay on This Is Us," 29 Mar. 2019 Inflation, though, would soon begin to ravage the Linotte’s worth—including in 1960, when the government introduced the new franc, knocking two zeroes off the currency’s value. Georgi Kantchev, WSJ, "The Bond That’s Still Paying Interest, 280 Years Later," 6 Jan. 2019 And the sight of Toyota Priuses chauffeuring themselves around the streets of Mountain View inspired possibilities, including more projects that didn’t consist solely of zeroes and ones. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Inside X, the Moonshot Factory Racing to Build the Next Google," 11 July 2018 Moving ones and zeros around the Internet is getting to be more expensive than keeping the oil flowing. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Data Really Is the New Oil," 9 Mar. 2019 But birthdays with one of those big round zeros at the end are made for taking stock. Robert Cocuzzo, Town & Country, "30 Lessons I've Learned, In Honor of My 30th Birthday," 22 May 2016 Thanks to the polar vortex that's turned most of the country into a frozen tundra this week, most us just barely eked out getting to work in sub-zero (or in some cases, -30º F) temps. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Here's How Birds Stay Warm in the Winter, In Case You Were Wondering," 1 Feb. 2019 German tossed 84 pitches in matching zeroes with Clevinger, with two walks and nine strikeouts. Pete Caldera, USA TODAY, "Gleyber Torres hits walk-off three-run homer to help Yankees sweep Indians," 6 May 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

Extreme events For what is perhaps a more concrete comparison, the researchers also zeroed in on especially extreme heatwave events. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "How many more will die in US heatwaves as world warms?," 6 June 2019 Both interceptors zeroed in on the target — a re-entry vehicle that had been launched 4,000 miles away atop an intercontintental-range missile, the Pentagon said. Robert Burns, The Seattle Times, "Pentagon: Missile defense test succeeds in shootdown," 26 Mar. 2019 When his nomination was announced, critics zeroed in on what White House physician Ronny Jackson lacked -- most notably, any experience to speak of in running a massive organization like the Department of Veterans Affairs. Gregory Krieg, CNN, "The Trump administration's scandals and embarrassments, in one place," 27 Apr. 2018 Miller and his staff will spend most of the weekend on the road, tracking prospects and zeroing in on specific targets for 2019 and beyond. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "IU basketball: Previewing 2019 recruiting as window opens," 19 Apr. 2018 Things were better during the course of the next two days, but once a quarterback zeroes in on a favorite target, those left on the outside fall victim to limited opportunities. Chris Hays, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Senior Bowl: UCF receiver Tre'Quan Smith has solid week in front of NFL scouts," 26 Jan. 2018 But the White House zeroed out funding for ARM in last year's federal budget request, and that mission is no more. Mike Wall, Space.com, "About 17,000 Big Near-Earth Asteroids Remain Undetected: How NASA Could Spot Them," 10 Apr. 2018 Another video on its website shows surveillance cameras zeroing in on the path of a runaway prisoner who ends up in an ailing relative’s hospital room. Dake Kang, The Seattle Times, "Exposed Chinese database shows depth of surveillance state," 20 Feb. 2019 Others zeroed in on boarding and baggage as pain points that airlines could fix. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "How to Fix Air Travel? These Readers Have Answers," 6 Feb. 2019

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

15 Jun 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 How to pronounce zero (audio) , 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 How to pronounce zero (audio) , ˈzi(ə)r-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce zero (audio) \
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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