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ground zero

the point on the surface of the earth or water directly below, directly above, or at which an atomic or hydrogen bomb explodes.
(sometimes initial capital letters) the site of the former World Trade Center in New York City, destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Informal. the very beginning or most elementary level:
Some of the students are starting from ground zero.
Origin of ground zero
1945-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ground zero
  • Community colleges are both ground zero for retraining and a huge source of online growth.
  • Starting from ground zero and using basic principles that work need to be incorporated.
  • Papers and files removed from the concourse shops at ground zero.
  • They're at ground zero in the war against narco-trafficking, illegal immigration, and terrorism.
  • Children are at the epicenter of the information revolution, ground zero of the digital world.
  • Today, ground zero in the sustainable development debate is so-called renewable power.
  • Unfortunately, the site was ground zero for an overpopulated pack-rat colony.
  • Then it's about starting from a healthy ground zero and building a new character from there.
  • Properties in those areas--condominiums especially--have been ground zero for real estate speculation over the past five years.
  • Mortgage products were in many ways ground zero in the financial crisis.
British Dictionary definitions for ground zero

ground zero

a point on the surface of land or water at or directly above or below the centre of a nuclear explosion
a scene of great devastation
(sometimes capitals) the name given to the devastated site of the collapsed World Trade Center towers in New York after September 11 2001
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
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Word Origin and History for ground zero

1946, originally with reference to atomic blasts. In reference to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on New York, it was in use by Sept. 13.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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