1

zero

noun ze·ro \ ˈzē-(ˌ)rō , ˈzir-(ˌ)ō \

Definition of zero

plural zeros also zeroes
1 a :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
3 a (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
5 a :a state of total absence or neutrality
b :the lowest point :nadir
6 :something arbitrarily or conveniently designated zero

Examples of zero in a Sentence

  1. Two minus two equals zero.

  2. It's supposed to fall below zero tonight.

  3. The temperature is 10° above zero.

  4. They are working to reduce the mortality rate to zero.

Recent Examples of zero from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of zero

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

Other Number-Related Terms


2

zero

adjective

Definition of zero

1 a :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
2 a 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

Recent Examples of zero from the Web

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.

First Known Use of zero

1810


3

zero

verb

Definition of zero

transitive verb
1 :to determine or adjust the zero of
  • zero a rifle
2 a :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

Recent Examples of zero from the Web

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.

First Known Use of zero

1913



ZERO Defined for English Language Learners

zero

noun

Definition of zero for English Language Learners

  • : the number 0

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

  • : nothing at all


zero

adjective

Definition of zero for English Language Learners

  • : not any


zero

verb

Definition of zero for English Language Learners

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


ZERO Defined for Kids

zero

noun ze·ro \ ˈzē-rō , ˈzir-ō \

Definition of zero for Students

plural zeros or zeroes
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.

History for zero

The word zero was taken into English through French from Italian. In Italian zero appears to have been shortened from zefiro or zefro, itself a borrowing from Arabic ṣifr. In the Middle Ages Italian merchants and mathematicians learned from the Arabs of a way of writing numbers different from the traditional Roman numerals. The new numbers had a symbol that Roman numerals lacked, which was called by the Arabs ṣifr, literally “empty.” Our word cipher also comes ultimately from Arabic ṣifr.

Medical Dictionary

zero

noun ze·ro \ ˈzē-(ˌ)rō , ˈzi(ə)r-(ˌ)ō \

medical Definition of zero

plural zeros also zeroes
1 :the arithmetical symbol 0 or 0̸ denoting the absence of all magnitude or quantity
2 a :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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to conform or adhere

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Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
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