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zoom, zoom in

Zoom was originally an onomatopoeic word representing the humming sound made by a rapidly moving object.

  • The race car crossed the finish line with a zoom.

The phrasal verb zoom in means to focus more closely with a lens on a thing or a person.

  • Adjust the microscope lens to zoom in on the specimen.
  • Alberto focussed his camera on the rare orchid, and then zoomed in for a close-up.

Zoom is often followed by other prepositions (e.g. across, over, to, up) to denote a rapid increase or movement.

  • The baseball zoomed across the room before hitting the expensive vase.
  • The model airplane zoomed up past the trees before zooming over the lake.
  • Prices zoomed to a new high during the inflationary period.

Whether used as a noun or as a verb, zoom has a casual tone and is not recommended in formal writing, except in the area of photography.