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

While Biden’s $5 trillion plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 proved to be more progressive than touted, the idea of a more bipartisan climate policy could help move legislation forward that has been historically difficult to pass. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Where the Democratic candidates stand on climate policy," 26 June 2019 But the timing is perhaps all the plan gets right, because its ultimate goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 is neither bold nor new. Natasha Geiling, The New Republic, "The Democrats’ New Climate Plan Can’t Be Serious," 24 July 2019 Yet as deGrom zeroes in on a second consecutive Cy Young award, a pattern that began in 2018 has only worsened this year. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Jacob deGrom on track for second straight Cy Young Award - and Mets still can't win for him," 4 Sep. 2019 Castro zeroes in on the judiciary Castro was the first Democrat on the stage to frame the 2020 election in terms what's at stake on the federal judicial bench. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "Four big moments for Texans Beto O'Rourke and Julián Castro in first Democratic presidential debate," 26 June 2019 If there is a big difference in their answers, the CDC zeroes in on a cause. Jim Prevor, WSJ, "Lettuce Try Not to Panic," 29 Nov. 2018 Timing is everything, especially as studios work to compete with mega-hitmaker Disney, whose Lion King remake blew past $1 billion and continues to rack up more ones and zeroes at the global box office. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "Box Office: ‘Scary Stories’ Spooks ‘Dora’ As ‘The Kitchen,’ ‘Art of Racing’ Crash," 12 Aug. 2019 Libra—like all money encoded in ones and zeros—has to be stored in what’s called a digital wallet in order to move around the Internet. Sue Halpern, The New Yorker, "Facebook’s Audacious Pitch for a Global Cryptocurrency," 30 July 2019 In a long-standing stalemate dominated by zeroes on the scoreboard and plenty of strikeouts, the Tigers lost, 3-2. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers' Matthew Boyd solid in loss vs. Phillies, 3-2 (15 inn.)," 24 July 2019

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

Records show that zeroing in on the fairgrounds was no simple task. Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Missed phone calls, changing stories: How E. coli spread at the San Diego County Fair," 17 Sep. 2019 The bills zeroed in on plastics, an industry that has sidestepped recycling standards that other producers, such as glass and cardboard, must meet. Piper Mcdaniel, Los Angeles Times, "California lawmakers fail to act on recycling bills to phase out single-use plastics," 14 Sep. 2019 The judges zeroed on Miller’s expert witness, who never gave a direct opinion that the litter could not be flushed, Bush wrote. Eric Heisig, cleveland.com, "Appeals judges issue pun-filled ruling in case where Lorain woman said flushable kitty litter clogged septic tank," 6 Sep. 2019 In keeping with the collaborative spirit, Deer Park Elementary educators participate in a once-a-week gathering of teams to discuss and analyze student data, zeroing on each child’s academic strengths and weaknesses. Carissa Lamkahouan, Houston Chronicle, "New principal, Hogwarts-style fun await Deer Park Elementary kids," 8 Aug. 2019 Tip: Many comparison sites offer a deal-finding tool that zeroes in on the best prices by month or season; give it a try. USA TODAY, "Airfare to Europe is so darn cheap right now, you’ll kick yourself if you don’t go," 15 July 2019 Much of La Côte d’Azur, technically part of Provence but considered its own world, had become overbuilt, so Parisian tastemakers began looking inland, zeroing in on the then-sleepy villages of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Gordes and Ménerbes. Alexander Lobrano, WSJ, "The New Provence: From Quaint to Uber-Chic," 11 July 2019 Meanwhile, the Nets appear to be zeroing in on All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving. Kaelen Jones, SI.com, "NBA Rumors: Warriors Deal for D'Angelo Russell, Trade Andre Iguodala to Grizzlies," 30 June 2019 In his motion for the prosecution to share additional evidence in the case, defense attorney William Walsh zeroed in on the basis of Dial’s assault charge. oregonlive, "Key protest witness nowhere near bus during Portland hammer attack, lawyer says," 12 Sep. 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

5 Oct 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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