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zero the number represented by the Arabic numeral 0; cipher. [5 definitions]
zero-base having each budget expenditure justified on a basis of cost or need without consideration for the expenditures of a previous budget.
zero gravity the condition of apparent weightlessness, as of a body in orbit, when the apparent effect of gravity is zero.
zero hour the time at which a military attack or other operation is scheduled to begin. [2 definitions]
zero population growth a condition in a given population in which the number of live births equals the number of deaths, so that the population remains constant.
zero-sum of or describing a situation, such as a competition, in which the sum of the gains equals the sum of the losses.
zest great pleasure; keen enjoyment; relish. [2 definitions]
zestless combined form of zest.
zeta the name of the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet.
zeugma a rhetorical construction in which one word, usu. an adjective or verb, modifies or governs two or more words, although it makes straightforward logical sense with only one, as in "loud thunder and lightning".
Zeus in Greek mythology, the supreme Olympian god; Jupiter.
ziggurat a terraced, pyramidal tower of the ancient Sumerians, Assyrians, and Babylonians.
zigzag a line or course that moves back and forth to form a series of sharp angles. [5 definitions]
zilch (slang) zero; nothing; nil.
zillion (informal) an extremely large, indefinite number.
Zimbabwe a south central African country between Zambia, Mozambique, and Botswana; formerly Rhodesia.
zinc a chemical element that has thirty protons in each nucleus and that occurs in pure form as a bluish white corrosion-resistant metal that is brittle at room temperature but becomes malleable when heated, used in a variety of alloys and in electrical devices. (symbol: Zn) [2 definitions]
zinc ointment a salve that contains zinc oxide and is used to treat skin conditions.
zinc oxide a whitish powder used as a pigment, in the manufacture of rubber articles and plastics, and in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
zinc sulfate a colorless crystalline compound used medicinally as an astringent or emetic, and as a preservative for wood and skins, a bleach for paper, a fungicide, and the like.
zinc white zinc oxide, esp. when used as a white pigment.