zapped adj. Spicy. This term is used to distinguish between food that is hot (in temperature) and food that is *spicy*-hot. For example, the Chinese appetizer Bon Bon Chicken is a kind of chicken salad that is cold but zapped; by contrast, vanilla wonton soup is hot but not zapped. See also oriental food, laser chicken. See zap, senses 1 and 2.
zen vt. To figure out something by meditation or by a sudden flash of enlightenment. Originally applied to bugs, but occasionally applied to problems of life in general. "How'd you figure out the buffer allocation problem?" "Oh, I zenned it." Contrast grok, which connotes a time-extended version of zenning a system. Compare hack mode. See also guru.
zero-content adj. Syn. content-free.
zeroth /zee'rohth/ adj. First. Among software designers, comes from C's and LISP's 0-based indexing of arrays. Hardware people also tend to start counting at 0 instead of 1; this is natural since, e.g., the 256 states of 8 bits correspond to the binary numbers 0, 1, ..., 255 and the digital devices known as `counters' count in this way.
Hackers and computer scientists often like to call the first chapter of a publication `chapter 0', especially if it is of an introductory nature (one of the classic instances was in the First Edition of K&R). In recent years this trait has also been observed among many pure mathematicians (who have an independent tradition of numbering from 0). Zero-based numbering tends to reduce fencepost errors, though it cannot eliminate them entirely.
zigamorph /zig'*-morf/ n.
zip [primarily MS-DOS] vt. To create a compressed archive from a group of files using PKWare's PKZIP or a compatible archiver. Its use is spreading now that portable implementations of the algorithm have been written. Commonly used as follows: "I'll zip it up and send it to you." See tar and feather.
zipperhead [IBM] n. A person with a closed mind.
zombie [UNIX] n. A process that has died but has not yet relinquished its process table slot (because the parent process hasn't executed a `wait(2)' for it yet). These can be seen in `ps(1)' listings occasionally. Compare orphan.
Zork /zork/ n. The second of the great early experiments in computer fantasy gaming; see ADVENT. Originally written on MIT-DM during the late 1970s, later distributed with BSD UNIX (as a patched, sourceless RT-11 FORTRAN binary; see retrocomputing) and commercialized as `The Zork Trilogy' by Infocom. The FORTRAN source was later rewritten for portability and released to USENET under the name "Dungeon". Both FORTRAN "Dungeon" and translated C versions are available at many FTP sites.
zorkmid /zork'mid/ n. The canonical unit of currency in hacker-written games. This originated in zork but has spread to nethack and is referred to in several other games.