View synonyms for zero


[ zeer-oh ]


, plural ze·ros, ze·roes.
  1. the figure or symbol 0, which in the Arabic notation for numbers stands for the absence of quantity; cipher.
  2. the origin of any kind of measurement; line or point from which all divisions of a scale, as a thermometer, are measured in either a positive or a negative direction.
  3. a mathematical value intermediate between positive and negative values.
  4. naught; nothing.
  5. the lowest point or degree.
  6. Linguistics. the absence of a linguistic element, as a phoneme or morpheme, in a position in which one previously existed or might by analogy be expected to exist, often represented by the symbol 0̷:

    Inflectional endings were reduced to zero. The alternant of the plural morpheme in “sheep” is zero.

  7. Ordnance. a sight setting for both elevation and windage on any particular range causing a projectile to strike the center of the target on a normal day, under favorable light conditions, with no wind blowing.
  8. Mathematics.
    1. the identity element of a group in which the operation is addition.
    2. (of a function, especially of a function of a complex variable) a point at which a given function, usually a function of a complex variable, has the value zero; a root.
  9. (initial capital letter) a single-engine Japanese fighter plane used in World War II.

verb (used with object)

, ze·roed, ze·ro·ing.
  1. to adjust (an instrument or apparatus) to a zero point or to an arbitrary reading from which all other readings are to be measured.
  2. to reduce to zero.
  3. Slang. to kill (a congressional bill, appropriation, etc.):

    The proposed tax increase has been zeroed for the time being.


  1. amounting to zero:

    a zero score.

  2. having no measurable quantity or magnitude; not any:

    zero economic growth.

  3. Linguistics. noting a hypothetical morphological element that is posited as existing by analogy with a regular pattern of inflection or derivation in a language, but is not represented by any sequence of phonological elements:

    the zero allomorph of “-ed” in “cut”; “Deer” has a zero plural.

  4. Meteorology.
    1. (of an atmospheric ceiling) pertaining to or limiting vertical visibility to 50 feet (15.2 meters) or less.
    2. of, relating to, or limiting horizontal visibility to 165 feet (50.3 meters) or less.
  5. Finance. zero-coupon.
  6. being or pertaining to the precise time, as a specific hour or second, when something must or does happen, as the explosion of a nuclear weapon:

    in an underground shelter at zero second.

verb phrase

  1. to aim (a rifle, etc.) at the precise center or range of a target.
    1. to aim directly at (a target).
    2. to direct one's attention to; focus on; concentrate on.
    3. to converge on; close in on.


/ ˈzɪərəʊ /


  1. the symbol 0, indicating an absence of quantity or magnitude; nought Former namecipher
  2. the integer denoted by the symbol 0; nought
  3. the cardinal number between +1 and –1
  4. nothing; nil
  5. a person or thing of no significance; nonentity
  6. the lowest point or degree

    his prospects were put at zero

  7. the line or point on a scale of measurement from which the graduations commence
    1. the temperature, pressure, etc, that registers a reading of zero on a scale
    2. the value of a variable, such as temperature, obtained under specified conditions
  8. a gunsight setting in which accurate allowance has been made for both windage and elevation for a specified range
  9. maths
    1. the cardinal number of a set with no members
    2. the identity element of addition
  10. linguistics
    1. an allomorph with no phonetic realization, as the plural marker of English sheep
    2. ( as modifier )

      a zero form

  11. Also calledzero-coupon bond finance a bond that pays no interest, the equivalent being paid in its redemption value Compare Zebra


  1. having no measurable quantity, magnitude, etc
  2. meteorol
    1. (of a cloud ceiling) limiting visibility to 15 metres (50 feet) or less
    2. (of horizontal visibility) limited to 50 metres (165 feet) or less


  1. tr to adjust (an instrument, apparatus, etc) so as to read zero or a position taken as zero


  1. informal.
    no (thing) at all

    this job has zero interest


/ zîrō /

  1. The numerical symbol 0, representing a number that when added to another number leaves the original number unchanged.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of zero1

1595–1605; < Italian < Medieval Latin zephirum < Arabic ṣifr cipher

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Word History and Origins

Origin of zero1

C17: from Italian, from Medieval Latin zephirum, from Arabic sifr empty, cipher

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A Closer Look

Although the origin of zero is controversial, some historians believe that it was invented by the Babylonians in about 500 BCE. In the sixth century, it was discovered by the Hindus and Chinese, and 700 years later, it reached the Western world via the Arabs. Zero is the only integer (whole number) that is neither positive nor negative. In a sense, zero makes negative numbers possible, as a negative number added to its positive counterpart always equals zero. When zero is added to or subtracted from a number, it leaves the number at its original value. Zero is essential as a position holder in the system known as positional notation. In the number 203, for example, there are two hundreds, zero tens, and three ones. Zero indicates that the value of the tens place is zero. In the number 1024, zero indicates that the value of the hundreds place is zero. Scientists use the term absolute zero (0° Kelvin) to refer to the (unattainable) theoretically lowest possible temperature, at which the kinetic energy of molecules is zero.

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Example Sentences

The hospital effectively ended the legal proceedings by filing thousands of notices with Shelby County General Sessions Court stating that the defendants’ balances were now zero.

“What I’m focused on is ensuring we’re picking the right areas of enterprise to focus on,” she said, citing training, remote assist, and 3D visualization as the three primary use cases the company is zeroing in on.

From Fortune

The plaintiffs in Texas, which include 18 states with Republican governors or attorneys general, claim this zeroed-out mandate is unconstitutional.

From Vox

You’ve got to connect with those people who are at ground zero and know what they’re saying is really happening.

From Fortune

“The industry dynamics have changed,” said Antonios Drossos, a Finland-based telecoms consultant whose firm Rewheel has analyzed EU zero-rating offers over recent years.

From Fortune

Not quite, but at one point the temperature registered 29 below zero, with 21 inches of snow.

The longer someone stays well, the lower their chance of relapsing, although that possibility never becomes zero.

Is it True that “Gays vs. Traditionalists are a Zero-Sum Game”?

Islamic State brought “peace, autonomy, zero corruption, low crime-rate,” he Tweeted last month.

During the recession net immigration to the U.S. from Mexico fell to zero or less.

But the day he planned to start was very cold—the mercury stood twenty-seven below zero.

Of course, at roulette, some number or zero itself is bound to come up every time, but number twenty-seven was invariably unlucky.

The words whispered in the pastry-cook's ear cooled his hot fit of courage down to zero.

At last, one evening, he walked up to a table and said to the croupier, "When was zero up last?"

One day last week, when the mercury was sulking at zero, three lambs arrived on the place.


Related Words




Zernikezero balancing