[ zap-ee ]
/ ˈzæp i /
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adjective, zap·pi·er, zap·pi·est.Informal.
energetic, lively, or fast-moving; zippy.
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Origin of zappy

First recorded in 1965–70; zap + -y1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does zappy mean?

Zappy describes someone or something that is energetic, lively, or fast moving, as in School vacations make me feel all zappy and free.

You might describe someone who is acting extremely excited, sociable, or energetic as zappy. A zappy person might smile and laugh a lot and generally feels energetic or happy. A zappy dog might race around your house, jumping up and down excitedly.

You could use zappy to describe objects that act like this, such as a wind-up toy. But you could also use it to describe objects that do not move. Their zappiness would come from the feelings they inspire in you. Zappy is used in this way most often to describe clothing, art, or other creative works that can appear colorful or flashy or that are meant to create a strong, positive emotion in you.

Example: You could tell the kids had a good time at the birthday party by how zappy they were.

Where does zappy come from?

The first records of the term zappy come from around the 1960s. It combines the term zap, meaning “to suddenly add energy, liveliness, or similar,” and the suffix y, which creates adjectives meaning “inclined to.” Zappy literally means “inclined to moving quickly.” 

Zappy is used less often than one of its synonyms, zippy. Zippy comes from the term zip which, when used informally, means “energy or vigor.” If you’re having a zippy day, for example, you’re having a positive, fun day. Our favorite, though, is when we’re having an extra good day. Then we say we’re having a zippy, zappy day. We hope you’re having a zippy, zappy day, too!

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to zappy?

  • zappily (adverb)
  • zappiness (noun)

What are some synonyms for zappy?

What are some words that share a root or word element with zappy?

What are some words that often get used in discussing zappy?

How is zappy used in real life?

Zappy is used informally to mean “lively,” though zippy is more commonly used.


Try using zappy!

Which of the following is NOT a synonym of zappy?

A. tired
B. lively
C. cheery
D. perky

British Dictionary definitions for zappy

/ (ˈzæpɪ) /

adjective zappier or zappiest
slang full of energy; snappy; zippy
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