Definition of zap in English:



  • 1[with object] Destroy or obliterate.

    ‘zap the enemy's artillery before it can damage your core units’
    ‘it's vital to zap stress fast’
    • ‘The stone was zapped and it's passing, so that's good.’
    • ‘You need to have top-flight shooting skills to zap the constantly moving targets that are your enemy.’
    • ‘In December, doctors zapped Hannah's tumor with the highest possible doses.’
    • ‘Technologically primitive Surrey suburbanites were zapped by future war weaponry; it was a horribly unequal contest.’
    • ‘Science has wiped out many killer diseases and may soon zap the rest.’
    • ‘The grapefruit-sized tumor was zapped with chemotherapy, radiation and relentless courage.’
    • ‘California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has been zapped from the official websites of his Austria birthplace of Graz.’
    • ‘I've spotted a grubby fingerprint on the window and I can't concentrate until I've zapped it with a bottle of Dettox and a damp cloth.’
    • ‘It zapped the liquid and suddenly there was steam.’
    • ‘It's heaped full of chlorophyll, which zaps halitosis fast.’
    destroy, wipe out, annihilate, exterminate, extirpate, demolish, eliminate, eradicate, kill, decimate, liquidate, wipe off the face of the earth, wipe off the map
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  • 2[with object] Cause to move suddenly and rapidly in a specified direction.

    ‘the boat zapped us up river’
    • ‘A fascinating linguistic theory has been zapping around the internet over the past week.’
    • ‘A bolt of (cheaply superimposed) energy zaps past him.’
    • ‘I sat there watching the chat screen zapping up past me, just about going crosseyed trying to read it all.’
    • ‘The awareness of what was occurring zapped through me, and suddenly I was snapped back into my body as if I'd been shot from a slingshot.’
    1. 2.1[no object]Move suddenly and rapidly, especially between television channels or sections of videotape by use of a remote control.
      ‘video recorders mean the audience will zap through the ads’
      • ‘With one hand he zapped through the channels on the telly while expertly opening a bottle of ale with the other.’
      • ‘No one is obliged to watch television and you can always zap between channels.’
      • ‘I had nothing to do the night before a game and I was zapping between the channels.’
      • ‘Tuning out completely is not an option for most voters, unless their television sets can zap out commercials.’
      • ‘Several talk of how they used to zap to another channel whenever politics came on television.’
      • ‘They have always seemed, I'm ashamed to say, a bit like the weather forecast: predictable, dull, a cue to zap to another channel.’
      • ‘Sadly, modern TV executives are more worried about holding zapping audiences and ratings figures than about television as an arts and culture source.’
  • 3[with object] Cook or warm (food or a hot drink) in a microwave oven.

    • ‘I'll make a huge bag of pasta so I can just zap it in the microwave for three minutes after a workout and have instant pasta.’
    • ‘The bonus with low-fat sausages is that many are precooked and browned for convenience, so you can easily zap them in a microwave for a quick breakfast addition.’
    • ‘More people are taking the time to prepare food in their own homes, or enjoying a leisurely restaurant meal instead of taking the fast food option or zapping something in the microwave.’
    • ‘I put ice in the microwave, zapped it for two minutes, and voila.’


  • A sudden effect or event that makes a dramatic impact, especially a sudden burst of energy or sound.

    ‘the eggs get an extra zap of UV light’
    • ‘One zap with my racket and the pesky mosquitoes are dead.’
    • ‘A zap through of news channels will reveal this rotund surgeon, laying claim to be the sole representative of Hindu sentiment in this country.’
    • ‘As I saw it, the only thing that would keep me from noshing away on her famous baked brie would be a zap or two.’
    • ‘If I had a stun gun, I'd give them all a collective zap.’
    • ‘He insists he is not clairvoyant as a result of the zap.’
    • ‘As soon as Xander's hand made contact with Pheobe's, Pheobe felt as if a zap of electricity went through her body and her heart started to beat faster.’
    • ‘The spells make the appropriate zaps and sizzles, the explosions sound good, and the clanging of weapons on armor are realistic.’
    • ‘I remember one episode when he cured chronic kidney failure with a quick zap on his twisty thing.’
    • ‘He received a zap, shrieked slightly at his own stupidity, and yanked away.’
    • ‘All the hydrogen and oxygen need is a zap of electrolysis.’
    • ‘There may be just a zap between them, but they are two completely different creatures.’
    • ‘A zap sound ended the vision and then he was left with Ami.’


1920s (originally US): imitative.