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zero (v.)
in zero in, 1944, from zero (n.); the image is from instrument adjustment to a setting of "zero" (1909 in this sense, originally in rifle-shooting). Related: Zeroed; zeroing.
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zero (n.)
"figure which stands for naught in the Arabic notation," also "the absence of all quantity considered as quantity," c. 1600, from French zéro or directly from Italian zero, from Medieval Latin zephirum, from Arabic sifr "cipher," translation of Sanskrit sunya-m "empty place, desert, naught" (see cipher (n.)).

A brief history of the invention of "zero" can be found here. Meaning "worthless person" is recorded from 1813. As an adjective from 1810. Zero tolerance first recorded 1972, originally U.S. political language. Zero-sum in game theory is from 1944 (von Neumann), indicating that if one player wins X amount the other or others must lose X amount.
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ground zero (n.)
1946, originally with reference to atomic blasts. In reference to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on New York, it was in use by Sept. 13.
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absolute zero (n.)
"lowest possible temperature which the nature of heat admits" (determined to be –273 centigrade, –458 Fahrenheit), the idea dates back to 1702 and its general value was guessed to within a few degrees soon thereafter, but not precisely discovered until Lord Kelvin's work in 1848. It was known by many names, such as infinite cold, absolute cold, natural zero of temperature; the term absolute zero was among them by 1806.
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zip (n.2)
"zero," 1900, student slang for a grade of zero on a test, etc.; of unknown origin; compare zilch.
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aught (n.2)
"nothing, zero," faulty separation of a naught (see naught). See adder for similar misdivisions.
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cipher (n.)

late 14c., "arithmetical symbol for zero," from Old French cifre "nought, zero," Medieval Latin cifra, which, with Spanish and Italian cifra, ultimately is from Arabic sifr "zero," literally "empty, nothing," from safara "to be empty;" a loan-translation of Sanskrit sunya-s "empty." Klein says Modern French chiffre is from Italian cifra

The word came to Europe with Arabic numerals. From "zero," it came to mean "any numeral" (early 15c.), then (first in French and Italian) "secret way of writing; coded message" (a sense first attested in English 1520s), because early codes often substituted numbers for letters. Meaning "the key to a cipher or secret writing" is by 1885, short for cipher key (by 1835).

Figurative sense of "something or someone of no value, consequence, or power" is from 1570s.

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ought (n.)

"zero, cipher," 1844, probably a misdivision of a nought (see nought; for misdivision, see N); the meaning probably was influenced by aught "anything."

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Maya 

of or pertaining to the large group of native people of the Yucatan, or to their ancient civilization, at its peak c. 250 C.E. to 9c., noted for its fully developed written script, mathematics (which included zero), and astronomy; 1822, from the native name. Related: Mayan (1831).

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contra (prep., adv.)

"against, over against, opposite, on the opposite side; on the contrary, contrariwise," mid-14c., from Latin contra (prep. and adv.) "against," originally "in comparison with," ablative singular feminine of *com-teros, from Old Latin com "with, together" (see com-) + -tr, zero-degree form of the comparative suffix -ter-.

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