zero

[zeer-oh]
noun, plural zeros, zeroes.
1.
the figure or symbol 0, which in the Arabic notation for numbers stands for the absence of quantity; cipher.
2.
the origin of any kind of measurement; line or point from which all divisions of a scale, as a thermometer, are measured in either a positive or a negative direction.
3.
a mathematical value intermediate between positive and negative values.
4.
naught; nothing.
5.
the lowest point or degree.
6.
Linguistics. the absence of a linguistic element, as a phoneme or morpheme, in a position in which one previously existed or might by analogy be expected to exist, often represented by the symbol 0̷: Inflectional endings were reduced to zero. The alternant of the plural morpheme in “sheep” is zero.
7.
Ordnance. a sight setting for both elevation and windage on any particular range causing a projectile to strike the center of the target on a normal day, under favorable light conditions, with no wind blowing.
8.
Mathematics.
a.
the identity element of a group in which the operation is addition.
b.
(of a function, especially of a function of a complex variable) a point at which a given function, usually a function of a complex variable, has the value zero; a root.
9.
(initial capital letter) a single-engine Japanese fighter plane used in World War II.
verb (used with object), zeroed, zeroing.
10.
to adjust (an instrument or apparatus) to a zero point or to an arbitrary reading from which all other readings are to be measured.
11.
to reduce to zero.
12.
Slang. to kill (a congressional bill, appropriation, etc.): The proposed tax increase has been zeroed for the time being.
adjective
13.
amounting to zero: a zero score.
14.
having no measurable quantity or magnitude; not any: zero economic growth.
15.
Linguistics. noting a hypothetical morphological element that is posited as existing by analogy with a regular pattern of inflection or derivation in a language, but is not represented by any sequence of phonological elements: the zero allomorph of “-ed” in “cut”; “Deer” has a zero plural.
16.
Meteorology.
a.
(of an atmospheric ceiling) pertaining to or limiting vertical visibility to 50 feet (15.2 meters) or less.
b.
of, pertaining to, or limiting horizontal visibility to 165 feet (50.3 meters) or less.
17.
Finance. zero-coupon.
18.
being or pertaining to the precise time, as a specific hour or second, when something must or does happen, as the explosion of a nuclear weapon: in an underground shelter at zero second.
Verb phrases
19.
zero in, to aim (a rifle, etc.) at the precise center or range of a target.
20.
zero in on,
a.
to aim directly at (a target).
b.
to direct one's attention to; focus on; concentrate on.
c.
to converge on; close in on.

Origin:
1595–1605; < Italian < Medieval Latin zephirum < Arabic ṣifr cipher

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
zero (ˈzɪərəʊ)
 
n , pl -ros, -roes
1.  Former name: cipher the symbol 0, indicating an absence of quantity or magnitude; nought
2.  the integer denoted by the symbol 0; nought
3.  the cardinal number between +1 and --1
4.  nothing; nil
5.  a person or thing of no significance; nonentity
6.  the lowest point or degree: his prospects were put at zero
7.  the line or point on a scale of measurement from which the graduations commence
8.  a.  the temperature, pressure, etc, that registers a reading of zero on a scale
 b.  the value of a variable, such as temperature, obtained under specified conditions
9.  a gunsight setting in which accurate allowance has been made for both windage and elevation for a specified range
10.  maths
 a.  the cardinal number of a set with no members
 b.  the identity element of addition
11.  linguistics
 a.  an allomorph with no phonetic realization, as the plural marker of English sheep
 b.  (as modifier): a zero form
12.  finance Compare Zebra Also called: zero-coupon bond a bond that pays no interest, the equivalent being paid in its redemption value
 
adj
13.  having no measurable quantity, magnitude, etc
14.  meteorol
 a.  (of a cloud ceiling) limiting visibility to 15 metres (50 feet) or less
 b.  (of horizontal visibility) limited to 50 metres (165 feet) or less
 
vb , -ros, -roes, -roes, -roing, -roed
15.  (tr) to adjust (an instrument, apparatus, etc) so as to read zero or a position taken as zero
 
determiner
16.  informal chiefly (US) no (thing) at all: this job has zero interest
 
[C17: from Italian, from Medieval Latin zephirum, from Arabic sifr empty, cipher]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

zero
1604, from It. zero, from M.L. zephirum, from Arabic sifr "cipher," translation of Skt. sunya-m "empty place, desert, naught" (see cipher). A brief history of the invention of "zero" can be found here. Meaning "worthless person"
is recorded from 1813. The verb zero in is 1944, from the noun, on the notion of instrument adjustments. Zero tolerance first recorded 1972, originally U.S. political language.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

zero ze·ro (zēr'ō, zē'rō)
n. pl. ze·ros or ze·roes

  1. The numerical symbol 0, indicating the absence of quantity or mass.

  2. The temperature indicated by the numeral 0 on a thermometer.

v.
To adjust an instrument or a device to zero value.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
zero   (zîr'ō)  Pronunciation Key 
The numerical symbol 0, representing a number that when added to another number leaves the original number unchanged.

Our Living Language  : Although the origin of zero is controversial, some historians believe that it was invented by the Babylonians in about 500 BCE. In the sixth century, it was discovered by the Hindus and Chinese, and 700 years later, it reached the Western world via the Arabs. Zero is the only integer (whole number) that is neither positive nor negative. In a sense, zero makes negative numbers possible, as a negative number added to its positive counterpart always equals zero. When zero is added to or subtracted from a number, it leaves the number at its original value. Zero is essential as a position holder in the system known as positional notation. In the number 203, for example, there are two hundreds, zero tens, and three ones. Zero indicates that the value of the tens place is zero. In the number 1024, zero indicates that the value of the hundreds place is zero. Scientists use the term absolute zero (0° Kelvin) to refer to the (unattainable) theoretically lowest possible temperature, at which the kinetic energy of molecules is zero.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

ZERO definition

language
An object oriented extension of Z.
["Object Orientation in Z", S. Stepney et al eds, Springer 1992].
[Jargon File]
(1995-03-30)

zero definition


1. 0, ASCI character 48. Numeric zero, as opposed to the letter "O" (the 15th letter of the English alphabet). In their unmodified forms they look a lot alike, and various kluges invented to make them visually distinct have compounded the confusion.
If your zero is centre-dotted and letter-O is not, or if letter-O looks almost rectangular but zero looks more like an American football stood on end (or the reverse), you're probably looking at a modern character display (though the dotted zero seems to have originated as an option on IBM 3270 controllers). If your zero is slashed but letter-O is not, you're probably looking at an old-style ASCII graphic set descended from the default typewheel on the venerable ASR-33 Teletype (Scandinavians, for whom slashed-O is a letter, curse this arrangement).
If letter-O has a slash across it and the zero does not, your display is tuned for a very old convention used at IBM and a few other early mainframe makers (Scandinavians curse *this* arrangement even more, because it means two of their letters collide). Some Burroughs/Unisys equipment displays a zero with a *reversed* slash. And yet another convention common on early line printers left zero unornamented but added a tail or hook to the letter-O so that it resembled an inverted Q or cursive capital letter-O.
[Jargon File]
(1995-01-24)
2. To set to zero. Usually said of small pieces of data, such as bits or words (especially in the construction "zero out").
3. To erase; to discard all data from. Said of disks and directories, where "zeroing" need not involve actually writing zeroes throughout the area being zeroed. One may speak of something being "logically zeroed" rather than being "physically zeroed".
See scribble.
(1999-02-07)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
Fresh bread will soon be baking high above ground zero.
Acknowledge from the outset that reference checks can never reduce your risk to
  zero.
Yet the marginal cost of rubbish disposal is not zero at all.
Solar heaters produce zero greenhouse gas emissions.
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