zap (zăp) Informal
v. zapped, zap·ping, zaps
a. To strike (an object or target) with a beam of energy, an electric current, or supernatural power: In the movie, the alien zaps the scientist with a ray gun.
b. To expose to radiation, as to cook or examine: zap food in a microwave; zap luggage with x-rays at a security checkpoint.
c. In science fiction and fantasy, to transport (a person or thing) into another place or time instantaneously, as with an energy beam.
a. To destroy or kill: "when the dinosaurs got zapped by whatever zapped the dinosaurs" (Laura Kasischke).
b. To deplete or obliterate: "His personal funds were zapped in the merger" (Patricia Haley).
3. To have a sudden and powerful effect on: "His ... narrative runs marvelously on and on, zapping the reader with often surprising and ... painful glimpses" (Publishers Weekly).
1. To move swiftly; zoom: zapped into the kitchen for a snack.
2. To use a remote control to turn a television set on or off or to switch channels.
1. A burst or beam of energy, electric current, or other power: a zap of 120 volts.
2. A sudden and powerful effect: a zap of fear; a zap of insight.
Used to indicate a sudden occurrence.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.