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1. To aim or direct one's line of vision at something. Can you have the camera zero in on that tree? The soldiers zeroed in on the enemy bunker.
2. To get incrementally closer to something, such as a physical location or the understanding of a concept. Authorities were able to zero in on the compound by using satellite imagery. It has taken multiple drafts, but I think I'm finally zeroing in on the right tone for my novel. The fugitive later admitted that he could sense the police zeroing in.
3. To focus one's attention on something. Critics seem to have really zeroed in on a single scene in the film, and I think they're missing some important points elsewhere. I love how my toddler zeroes in on new words when she hears them.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
zero in (on someone or something)
to aim directly at someone or something. The television camera zeroed in on the little boy scratching his head. The commercial zeroed in on the glass of cola. Mary is very good about zeroing in on the most important and helpful ideas.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. To aim or focus something, such as a weapon or telescope, toward a specific target or location: The enemy spotted the approaching aircraft and zeroed in their missiles. Zero the telescopes in on the watchtower.
2. To identify with increasing accuracy a property of something, especially its location: We are finally zeroing in on the location of the smuggling ring.
3. To adjust the aim or sight of a weapon by repeated firings: The soldiers fired a few rounds in order to zero in their rifles. I zeroed the gun in at 100 yards.
4. zero in on To direct one's gaze or attention to something: The children zeroed in on the display of toys in the store window.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.