Meaning of ZERO in English

I. ze ‧ ro 1 /ˈzɪərəʊ $ ˈziːroʊ/ BrE AmE number ( plural zeros or zeroes )

[ Date: 1600-1700 ; Language: French ; Origin: zéro , from Arabic sifr 'empty, nothing' ]

1 . the number 0 SYN nought British English :

Make x greater than or equal to zero.

2 . the point between + and – on a scale for measuring something, or the lowest point on a scale that shows how much there is left of something:

The petrol gauge was already at zero.

3 . a temperature of 0º on the Celsius or Fahrenheit scale

above/below zero

It was five degrees below zero last night.

⇨ ↑ absolute zero , ↑ sub-zero

4 . none at all, or the lowest possible amount

sb’s chances are zero (=they have no chance of success)

Mike’s chances of winning are virtually zero.

From 1971 to 1976 West Vancouver experienced zero population growth.

• • •


▪ zero the number 0. Also used when saying there is nothing at all:

A million is written as one followed by six zeros.


a temperature of zero degrees


Our chances of success are virtually zero.

▪ nil British English zero - used especially in the results of sports games:

United won the game three-nil.


In rural areas, employment opportunities are almost nil.

▪ nought British English spoken zero – used in calculations and figures:

It has increased by nought point seven five per cent (=0.75%) .

▪ O used to say the number 0 like the letter O:

The code for Oxford is 0 one eight six five (=01865) .

II. zero 2 BrE AmE verb

zero in on somebody/something phrasal verb

1 . to direct all your attention towards a particular person or thing SYN home in on :

She immediately zeroed in on the weak point in his argument.

2 . to aim a gun or other weapon towards something or someone

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.