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verb (used with object), zapped, zap·ping.
  1. to kill or shoot.
  2. to attack, defeat, or destroy with sudden speed and force.
  3. to bombard with electrical current, radiation, laser beams, etc.
  4. to strike or jolt suddenly and forcefully.
  5. to cook in a microwave oven.
  6. to skip over or delete (TV commercials), as by switching channels or pushing a fast-forward button on a playback device: We recorded the show on our VCR but zapped all the commercials.
  7. to add a sudden infusion of energy, verve, color, attractiveness, or the like (often followed by up): just the thing to zap up your spring wardrobe.
verb (used without object), zapped, zap·ping.
  1. to move quickly, forcefully, or destructively: high-voltage currents zapping overhead.
  1. force, energy, or drive; zip.
  2. a jolt or charge, as or as if of electricity.
  3. a forceful and sudden blow, hit, or attack.
  4. any method of political activism, usually of a disruptive nature.

Origin of zap

An Americanism dating back to 1940–45; imitative
Related formszap·per, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for zap

kill, terminate, slaughter, exterminate

Examples from the Web for zap

Contemporary Examples of zap

British Dictionary definitions for zap


verb zaps, zapping or zapped
  1. (tr) to attack, kill, or destroy, as with a sudden bombardment
  2. (intr) to move quickly; rush
  3. (tr) computing
    1. to clear from the screen
    2. to erase
  4. (intr) television to change channels rapidly by remote control
  1. energy, vigour, or pep
  1. an exclamation used to express sudden or swift action

Word Origin for zap

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

Word Origin and History for zap

1929 as a sound, 1942 as a verb, comic strip word (especially from "Buck Rogers in the Twenty-Fifth Century"), of imitative origin. Meaning "to erase electronically" is 1982. Related: Zapped; zapping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper