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1. To give someone or something an electrical shock. The wires zapped me when I touched them. I just need to zap the battery to get the car started.
2. slang To shoot someone or something with a laser or something like a laser. You have to zap the bad guys in the game with the laser gun! Doctors are trying an experimental procedure where they zap the cancerous tumor with a ray of ionized particles.

zap out

1. To eliminate something that is unwanted or undesirable using some intense, eradicating energy or force, such as radiation or electricity. The controversial procedure uses a series of controlled electrical shocks to zap out violent or negative impulses. The electromagnetic device claims to zap out 99% of germs in a room after a single 30-second cycle.
2. To deplete the resources of someone, something, or oneself. A noun or pronoun can be used between "zap" and "out." The freak snow storm quickly zapped out the city's meager supply of salt used to keep the roads free of ice. The grueling work schedule zapped me out of all my energy.
See also: out, zap


Quickly switching between channels on a TV, as while looking for a program to watch. I'm channel-zapping, but it doesn't look like anything good is on.

zap out

Interrupt or delete unwanted parts of a television program or video, as in We've taped the show and now we can zap out all the commercials. [c. 1980]
See also: out, zap

channel hopping

and channel surfing and channel zapping
n. using a remote control to move quickly from one television channel to another, pausing only a short time on each channel. I wish you would stop channel hopping! He spends more time channel zapping than actually watching.
See also: channel, hop

channel zapping

See also: channel, zap


1. tv. to shock someone. That fake snake zapped me for a minute.
2. tv. to kill someone. The stress from it all nearly zapped him.
3. tv. to impress someone. My big idea really zapped the boss. I may get a raise.
4. tv. to stun someone with an imaginary ray gun. He zapped me with a water gun.
5. exclam. Wow! (Usually Zap!) He said, “Zap!” indicating that he really liked the present, I guess.
6. tv. to defeat someone or a team. Fred zapped Britney in the spelling bee.
7. in. to zip or move to somewhere very fast. He’s zapping to the drugstore for some aspirin.


1. mod. tired; exhausted. I’m too zapped to go on.
2. mod. alcohol or drug intoxicated. We all got zapped and then went home.
See also: zap