zero-sum

adjective
ze·ro-sum | \ˈzē-(ˌ)rō-ˈsəm, ˈzir-(ˌ)ō-\

Definition of zero-sum 

: of, relating to, or being a situation (such as a game or relationship) in which a gain for one side entails a corresponding loss for the other side dividing up the budget is a zero-sum game

First Known Use of zero-sum

1944, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about zero-sum

Listen to Our Podcast about zero-sum

Phrases Related to zero-sum

zero-sum game

Statistics for zero-sum

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for zero-sum

The first known use of zero-sum was in 1944

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on zero-sum

See words that rhyme with zero-sum

Comments on zero-sum

What made you want to look up zero-sum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!