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  1. a sudden, brief hissing sound, as of a bullet.
  2. Informal. energy; vim; vigor.
verb (used without object), zipped, zip·ping.
  1. to move with a zipping sound.
  2. Informal. to act or move with speed or energy: I'll just zip upstairs.
verb (used with object), zipped, zip·ping. Informal.
  1. to convey with speed and energy: I'll zip you downtown on my motorcycle.
  2. to add vitality or zest to (usually followed by up): A little garlic zips up a salad.

Origin of zip1

First recorded in 1850–55; of expressive orig.


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2. pep, dash, verve, vivacity, vitality.


verb (used with object), zipped, zip·ping.
  1. to fasten or unfasten with a zipper: Zip your jacket. Zip open the traveling case.
  2. to enclose or free by doing up or undoing a zipper: Zip this money into your wallet. Zip me out of my dress.
  3. Computers. to compress (a file) in archive format, so it requires less memory to save and store it.
verb (used without object), zipped, zip·ping.
  1. to become fastened or unfastened by means of a zipper: a handy purse that zips shut.
  2. to do up or undo a zipper.
  1. a zipper.
  1. utilizing or having a zipper: a coat with a zip front.
  2. Computers. of or relating to a method of file compression: a zip file.
  3. (initial capital letter) Trademark. noting or relating to a floppy disk form of storage for computer data with a capacity of 100–750 MB, used primarily in the 1990s: a Zip drive; a Zip disk.

Origin of zip2

1935–40, Americanism; back formation from zipper
Related formszip·less, adjective


  1. zero or nothing: The score of last night's hockey game was 4–zip.
verb (used with object), zipped, zip·ping.
  1. (in sports) to defeat by keeping an opponent from scoring: The home team was zipped again yesterday.

Origin of zip3

1895–1900; Americanism; apparently an expressive word, with z- of zero; cf. zilch


  1. zip code.

Origin of zip4

by ellipsis
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for zip


    1. Also called: zip fastenera fastening device operating by means of two parallel rows of metal or plastic teeth on either side of a closure that are interlocked by a sliding tabUS and Canadian term: zipper
    2. (modifier)having or equipped with such a devicea zip bag
  1. a short sharp whizzing sound, as of a passing bullet
  2. informal energy; vigour; vitality
  3. US slang nothing
  4. sport, US and Canadian slang nil
verb zips, zipping or zipped
  1. (tr often foll by up) to fasten (clothing, a bag, etc) with a zip
  2. (intr) to move with a zipthe bullet zipped past
  3. (intr; often foll by along, through, etc) to hurry; rushthey zipped through town
  4. (tr) computing to compress (a file) in order to reduce the amount of memory required to store it or to make sending it electronically quicker

Word Origin

C19: of imitative origin


  1. trademark NZ an electric water heater
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for zip


"move rapidly," 1852, of echoic origin. Related: Zipped; zipping. Zip gun "homemade pistol" first recorded 1950.


"zero," 1900, student slang for a grade of zero on a test, etc.; of unknown origin; cf. zilch.


"to close or fasten by means of a zipper," 1932, back-formation from zipper. Related: Zipped; zipping.


1963, in U.S. postal ZIP code, an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan, no doubt chosen with conscious echo of zip (v.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper