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.

1945–50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ground zero
1.  a point on the surface of land or water at or directly above or below the centre of a nuclear explosion
2.  a scene of great devastation
3.  (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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Example sentences
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
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.
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