1929 as a sound, 1942 as a verb; a comic strip word (especially from "Buck Rogers in the Twenty-Fifth Century"), of imitative origin. Meaning "erase electronically" is 1982. Related: Zapped; zapping.

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Definitions of zap from WordNet
zap (v.)
strike suddenly and with force;
This show zaps the viewers with some shocking scenes
zap (v.)
kill with or as if with a burst of gunfire or electric current or as if by shooting;
Synonyms: vaporize
zap (v.)
strike at with firepower or bombs;
zap the enemy
Synonyms: nuke / atomize / atomise
zap (v.)
cook or heat in a microwave oven;
Synonyms: microwave / micro-cook / nuke
zap (n.)
a sudden event that imparts energy or excitement, usually with a dramatic impact;
they gave it another zap of radiation