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[zoom] /zum/
verb (used without object)
to move quickly or suddenly with a loud humming or buzzing sound:
cars zooming by on the freeway.
to fly an airplane suddenly and sharply upward at great speed for a short distance, as in regaining altitude, clearing an obstacle, or signaling.
Movies, Television. to bring a subject, scene, etc., into closeup or cause it to recede into a long shot using a zoom lens and while maintaining focus.
Informal. to increase or rise suddenly and sharply:
Rents would zoom without rent control laws.
verb (used with object)
to cause (an airplane) to zoom.
to fly over (an obstacle) by zooming.
the act or process of zooming.
a zooming sound.
Informal. zoom lens.
Also called zoom shot. Movies, Television. a shot in which a subject, scene, or action is brought closer or made to recede by the use of a zoom lens.
Verb phrases
zoom in (on),
  1. to bring (a subject, scene, etc.) into closeup by using a zoom lens:
    to zoom in for a look at the injured man; to zoom in on a candidate at a political convention.
  2. to examine more closely or in greater detail; focus on:
    The panel zoomed in on the subject of abortion.
Origin of zoom
1885-90; imitative
1. buzz, speed, streak, flash. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for zoom
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then the experienced pilot lifted her in a zoom that was simply magnificent, and they were off on their adventure at last.

    Eagles of the Sky Ambrose Newcomb
  • After that for some time only the zoom of the motor was heard.

    Gypsy Flight Roy J. Snell
  • Cutting short their zoom Dave and Freddy rolled their Spitfires over and let them drop by the nose.

    Dave Dawson with the R.A.F R. Sidney Bowen
  • Jack had to "zoom" several times to get out of reach of the shells.

  • Then he noticed O'Malley, on his right, zoom upward, while Allison looped off to the left.

    A Yankee Flier in Italy Rutherford G. Montgomery
British Dictionary definitions for zoom


to make or cause to make a continuous buzzing or humming sound
to move or cause to move with such a sound
(intransitive) to move very rapidly; rush: we zoomed through town
to cause (an aircraft) to climb briefly at an unusually steep angle, or (of an aircraft) to climb in this way
(intransitive) (of prices) to rise rapidly
the sound or act of zooming
See zoom lens
Word Origin
C20: of imitative origin
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
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Word Origin and History for zoom

1886, of echoic origin. Gained popularity c.1917 as aviators began to use it; zoom lens is 1936.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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zoom in Technology

To show a smaller area of an image at a higher magnification ("zoom in") or a larger area at a lower magnification ("zoom out"), as though using a zoom lense on a camera.
Unlike in an optical system, zooming in on a computer image does not necessarily increase the amount of detail displayed since this is limited by what is actually stored in the image. Similarly, you cannot zoom out beyond the full size of the image.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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