zeroth

[zeer-ohth]
adjective
coming in a series before the first: the zeroth level of energy.

Origin:
1895–1900; zero + -th1

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
zeroth (ˈzɪərəʊð)
 
adj
denoting a term in a series that precedes the term otherwise regarded as the first term
 
[C20: from zero + -th²]

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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Slang Dictionary

zeroth

/zee'rohth/ adj. First. Among software designers, comes from C's and LISP's 0-based indexing of arrays. Hardware people also tend to start counting at 0 instead of 1; this is natural since, e.g., the 256 states of 8 bits correspond to the binary numbers 0, 1, ..., 255 and the digital devices known as `counters' count in this way.

Hackers and computer scientists often like to call the first chapter of a publication `Chapter 0', especially if it is of an introductory nature (one of the classic instances was in the First Edition of K&R). In recent years this trait has also been observed among many pure mathematicians (who have an independent tradition of numbering from 0). Zero-based numbering tends to reduce fencepost errors, though it cannot eliminate them entirely.
FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

zeroth definition

jargon
First.
Since zero is the lowest value of an unsigned binary integer, which is one of the most fundamental types in programming and hardware design, it is often natural to count from zero rather than one, especially when the integer is actually an index, as in hardware addressing or C and Lisp's 0-based indexing of arrays.
Hackers and computer scientists often like to call the first chapter of a publication "Chapter 0", especially if it is of an introductory nature (one of the classic instances was in the First Edition of K&R). In recent years this trait has also been observed among many pure mathematicians (who have an independent tradition of numbering from 0).
Zero-based numbering tends to reduce fencepost errors, though it cannot eliminate them entirely.
Logically, the next item after the zeroth should be the "oneth" but this is never used.
[Jargon File]
(1997-12-07)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
The output is again the zeroth order reflected beam off the grating.
It is positive definite and conserves the zeroth spatial tracer moment.
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