Why was clemency trending last week?
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.
["A System for Assisting Program Transformation", M.S. Feather, ACM TOPLAS 4(1):1-20, Jan 1982].
2. Zero and Add Packed.
1. To modify, usually to correct; especially used when the action is performed with a debugger or binary patching tool. Also implies surgical precision. "Zap the debug level to 6 and run it again."
In the IBM mainframe world, binary patches are applied to programs or to the operating system with a program called "superzap", whose file name is "IMASPZAP" (possibly contrived from I M A SuPerZAP).
See also Zero and Add Packed.
2. To fry a chip with static electricity. "Uh oh - I think that lightning strike may have zapped the disk controller."