Definition of zoom in US English:



[no object]
  • 1(especially of a car or aircraft) move or travel very quickly.

    ‘we watched the fly zooming about’
    ‘he jumped into his car and zoomed off’
    • ‘The weekend had zoomed past, leaving me staring at the formal Sunday dinner with a mixture of exasperation and ‘don't wanna go to school blues’.’
    • ‘Once she had gunned the engine of her corvette, she zoomed back home to Pinnacle Point.’
    • ‘I watched fire trucks zoom past me as they made their way into the city.’
    • ‘I shrugged lightheartedly before racing down the stairs, almost tripping over my own feet before zooming towards the car and telling the driver to hurry the hell up.’
    • ‘After about five minutes, another elevator zoomed past me.’
    • ‘When it got a little darker, I began to crack open the driver's side door every time a vehicle zoomed by to wave my flashlight.’
    • ‘The story is, we found the place we were looking for, then we had lunch and we zoomed back as quickly as wheels could turn.’
    • ‘There was a round of applause as the fighters zoomed overhead and did a slow roll in formation.’
    • ‘They looked out the windows, watching the cars zoom by.’
    • ‘An assault jeep quickly zoomed ahead of the rest of the moving column, three gunmen disembarking and running forward, assault rifles raised.’
    • ‘Music carries from the various bars along the street and every once in a while a car zooms past, screeching as it swerves around the corner.’
    • ‘This area now seems to be one where the technology, and the uses of the technology, have zoomed way ahead of where the law is.’
    • ‘Cars continued to zoom past, mere blurs of colour and noise.’
    • ‘He put his head in his hands and watched the cars zoom past him.’
    • ‘Cars and trucks zoomed past but Tyler was thankful for the distraction.’
    • ‘Wide, open streets encourage motorists to zoom ahead.’
    • ‘Plenty of cars were parked against the sidewalk, but a few still zoomed by.’
    • ‘Rob fired his engine and zoomed past Ryan's car.’
    • ‘As the sleek convertible zoomed down the quiet streets, I stared out the window.’
    • ‘One of New York's finest journalists and travel writers zoomed into old York this week and was ‘blown away’ by all that the city had to offer.’
    race, hurry, speed, dash, bolt, dart, sprint, run, rush, hasten, hurtle, career, streak, shoot, whizz, go like lightning, go hell for leather, spank along, bowl along, rattle along, whirl, whoosh, buzz, swoop, flash, blast, charge, stampede, gallop, sweep, hare, fly, wing, scurry, scud, scutter, scramble
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of prices) rise sharply.
      ‘the share index zoomed by about 136 points’
      • ‘Last year, the rocketing demand for high-tech goods sent coltan prices zooming upwards to 146 per pound.’
      • ‘British Airways, which recently re-joined the FTSE 100, zoomed 152% higher.’
      • ‘Real estate prices too have zoomed, ironically pushed up in the first place by the IT companies themselves.’
      • ‘Kmart has been a rip-snorting stock, zooming from $19.60 to $101.22 in less than a year and a half.’
      • ‘Some companies announce a website and the stock price zooms.’
      • ‘The stock began trading at $16 and within two days zoomed as high as $85.75.’
      • ‘One of them is Ocean Information Holdings, whose share price has zoomed more than 200% since Dec. 24.’
      • ‘It used to be a truism: cut interest rates to release money into the financial system and watch share prices zoom.’
      • ‘Start with golf courses, move on to schools and office parks, and watch sales zoom with water prices.’
      • ‘Abel, manager of the fund, began selling off shares as they zoomed towards $70.’
      • ‘The authorized return fare was 36,000 in September, but prices have zoomed up since that we understand.’
      • ‘In theory, as fund assets zoom up, the costs of running a portfolio shouldn't rise nearly as much, so fees should fall.’
      • ‘The first half of 1990s was a boom period when prices were zooming even to ‘unrealistic’ levels.’
      • ‘As demand in China has heated up, the price of light crude zoomed to meet that demand.’
      • ‘Fancier dehydrators, with heat regulators and fans to circulate the air, work faster, but the price can zoom to several hundred dollars for serious preserving tools.’
      • ‘That is because trading in and out doesn't work and no one knows when the market will suddenly zoom higher.’
      • ‘And with the V - 6, automatic and leather seats, the sticker price zooms past $29,000.’
      • ‘School funds from the state are capped by law at $6,700 per student, a figure that has been frozen for the past three years, but costs are zooming.’
  • 2(of a camera) change smoothly from a long shot to a close-up or vice versa.

    ‘the camera zoomed in for a close-up of his face’
    ‘zoom out for a wide view of the garden again’
    • ‘The camera slowly zooms out to show the dimly lit room and finally the back of the Don's head, and his hands.’
    • ‘The camera teasingly zooms into the blackness outside, then eases back again.’
    • ‘The camera zooms out again and refocuses on Martin's still frame.’
    • ‘The camera slowly zooms in and Thaw does nothing.’
    • ‘There are also some strange decisions made, such as the shots of mugs full of beer, in which the camera lovingly zooms in on the little bubbles swirling around inside the glass.’
    • ‘There was footage of a girl lying on his sofa watching a cartoon and the camcorder again zoomed in on her.’
    • ‘As the camera slowly and gracefully zooms back from a tight close-up of stormy waves to the rain-drenched street where Allen's character grew up, it's as if we're transported to the time of his dreams, his memories.’
    • ‘When the jail door slams in front of Manny, the camera zooms through a small ‘eye slot’ so we can see him in his cell.’
    • ‘The camera then zooms in to a solitary bus surrounded by police.’
    • ‘I would have liked to seen the camera zoom out just a bit more, as I feel this would help bring everything into a proper perspective.’
    • ‘Only occasionally does the camera zoom in for an examination of the actual steps.’
    • ‘The camera slowly zooms in as Paul Martin talks about his father being in Cabinet.’
    • ‘It seems funny that when I do, I can see the camera zoom onto me every time.’
    • ‘I see the camera zoom into my face, and I see my glowing green eyes.’
    • ‘Later, as the townspeople search the lake for the missing wife, there is a striking image of the man's face as the camera gradually zooms in on it as he looks desperately out from the prow of a boat.’
    • ‘Suddenly, the camera swings around or zooms out from the view of a temple, or a palace, or some tumble-down shack, to reveal the airport, superhighway, or other emblem of modernity next door.’
    • ‘When the camera zooms out, the graphics look nice and crisp.’
    • ‘The camera continually zips and zooms around the actors, creating a sense of momentum and urgency, even during the rare slow times.’
    • ‘I didn't notice it until the camera zoomed in on it last night.’
    • ‘Let a camera zoom in on you or let an office worker see you with your gun drawn and your cover will be blown.’
    1. 2.1with object Cause (a lens or camera) to zoom in or out.
      • ‘The game also allows you to zoom the camera in and out of the action - a cool feature, particularly since the weapons, armor and enemies are all well detailed.’
      • ‘At this point the camera was zoomed out from what was happening and then panned over to the left and I lost track of the object.’
      • ‘Some of the sex scenes that are left in the movie simply zoom the camera onto one of the character's faces so no nudity is shown.’
      • ‘The fifth is an extreme close up of a new leaf - the camera is zoomed in so close you don't see the edges of the leaf.’
      • ‘Ignoring our concern, she removed her camera from her purse, and zoomed her camera lens as far as she could.’
      • ‘The colors are rich and vibrant and the clarity of the focus holds up well even if you zoom it to 1.85: 1 aspect ratio on a widescreen setup to watch it as seen in the theaters.’
      • ‘The people and furnishings look good even if you zoom the camera way in, and there are lots of nice details in the character animations.’
      • ‘We only saw two rhinos today but again, we got good views and now that I've worked out how to zoom the camera, got some of the best pictures so far.’
      • ‘Using the C stick, players can pan and zoom the camera to their hearts' content and spy the reality-based action from just about any angle.’
      • ‘It would, however, benefit the player immensely if the camera were zoomed out a little so the player can have increased situational awareness.’
      • ‘The camera is zoomed in, so we can't really tell where Mike is.’
      • ‘It is impossible for a person who doesn't know how to zoom a video camera to tell others how to use it.’
      • ‘I zoomed the lens to his face and traced his features, moving the camera swiftly from his perfect hair to his flawless complexion.’
      • ‘The default side camera view isn't zoomed out enough, even at the highest setting, but the vertical view fixes everything nicely.’
      • ‘In most cases the camera needs to be zoomed out so a click on the enemy with the targeting reticle misses and becomes a ‘move to’ command.’
      • ‘On the other hand, the character models are composed of very few polygons and show a lack of detail, especially if the camera is zoomed in.’
      • ‘Ships have the freedom to travel in three dimensions, and the game uses a third-person camera perspective that can be zoomed and rotated around your ship.’
      • ‘You can also zoom the camera in and out as well as tilt it up or down.’


  • 1A camera shot that changes smoothly from a long shot to a close-up or vice versa.

    as modifier ‘the zoom button’
    • ‘As a result, instead of the clean visuals that typify the science fiction genre, we see lens flares, shaky handheld cameras, zooms, and sloppy rack focuses even in CGI shots.’
    • ‘A zoom brackets the shot, indicating a single take.’
    • ‘We did many things using our intuition: camera placement, zooms, close up, etc… and it ended up working quite well, though more knowledge of basic rules would have helped.’
    • ‘There are slow pans and unobtrusive zooms as the cameras follow the course of each lesson.’
    • ‘The zoom shots of the Midwest Federal Building show an empty skyline; today the vista is packed with structures.’
    • ‘The picture is so rife with close-ups, zooms, and arty silhouette shots that it interferes with the viewer's appreciation of the dance.’
    • ‘The successive zooms of the camera alternate with periods of darkness, in which no image appears.’
    • ‘Unlike a dolly or tracking shot, the zoom draws attention to itself as something that someone behind the camera is actually executing.’
    • ‘Handheld cameras and quickfire zooms are Soderbergh's trademark, which means the result is incredibly stylish.’
    • ‘Every filmmaking technique that we've come to know and love from Altman is present: the overlapping dialogue, the forever-moving camera, the long zooms, the use of an ensemble cast.’
    • ‘The zoom shot and the pull back shot are used effectively in the opening sequence where we seem to fly over Montmartre.’
    • ‘As well, while the visuals are indeed enriching, the cinematography is mixed, with a few random camera zooms.’
    • ‘Tracking shots, pans and zooms are carefully controlled, but in his locations we are always aware of a more complex reality outside the frame.’
    • ‘The rest of the movie is a lot like that: moody and unpredictable, using lots of close-ups and jerky documentary-style zooms and fast cuts.’
    1. 1.1
      short for zoom lens
      • ‘This will probably only have a digital zoom rather than an optical zoom and a fairly basic lens.’
      • ‘The little beach shows boats in a small fishing town (thanks to the zoom on my camera) called Cascara.’
      • ‘Although it won't be out until the fourth quarter, it sets the bar pretty high: a 224k color screen, Memory Stick, Bluetooth and megapixel camera with 8x zoom.’
      • ‘Apart from digital zoom, this camera even has flash - perfect for taking pictures in dim places, such as during a social gathering at a pub.’
      • ‘I usually work with a wide angle zoom on one body and a telephoto zoom on another, like most photojournalists.’
      • ‘The phones boast a 1.3 megapixels camera, 8x zoom and flash.’
      • ‘For more serious work, a macro lens or a zoom with a macro feature offers superior quality.’
      • ‘He popped a cartridge in his camera and readied his zoom as the two men started their sleds.’
      • ‘In other words, you can adjust the zoom and camera angle to be as far away or as close up as possible, and as upside down and round about as you like.’
      • ‘Most models offer a digital zoom, which lets you magnify an image after it's been snapped.’
      • ‘To get a whole house into the viewfinder, the usual way is to use a wide angle lens, or the zoom at its widest setting.’
      • ‘I look through the eyepiece and I work the zoom manually.’
      • ‘Use the longest lens you have (or the zoom at the highest number), and move in as close as you can to the subject.’
      • ‘It's interesting to note that in recent months other manufacturers have expressed an interest in digital cameras with long zooms.’
      • ‘If you have a zoom or a telephoto lens then now is the time!’
      • ‘To make the exposure, simply press the shutter button with one hand and slide or twist the zoom through its focal range with the other.’
      • ‘It's a tri-band GPRS phone with a built-in camera offering digital zoom, self-timer and night shot.’
      • ‘Now he's eating a bologna sandwich (the zoom on this camera is really good) and drinking a Bud.’
      • ‘A little more than £100 can still buy you a camera with an optical zoom and in this case, one with a 3x range.’
      • ‘However there are a couple of reasons that pros would use a prime lens over a zoom.’


  • Used to express sudden fast movement.

    ‘then suddenly, zoom!, he's off’
    • ‘Everything goes black, until white light flashes and then - zoom!’


Late 19th century: imitative.