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- AA — Anti Air.
- AN — Anti Nuke.
- Anni — Lucifer (anni is from Annihilator, the old name) — heavy tachyon tower.
- AoE — Area of Effect (splash damage).
- Avenger — old name for Swift — multirole fighter.
- Amph — Amphibious bots.
- Air — typically indicates plane factory units; rarely gunships.
- Arty — short for Artillery, a class of long-range units.
- Bantha — old name for Paladin.
- BB — Big Bertha — the long range cannon.
- BD — Revenant, comes from old name Black Dawn — heavy raider/assault gunship.
- Behe — Cerberus, from old name Behemoth.
- BP — buildpower — the speed at which constructors/factories convert resources to units.
- BW — BlastWing — flying bomb unit.
- CA — Complete Annihilation — ZK's direct ancestor game. Also the Complete Annihilation award (for dealing the most damage).
- Cata — Merlin. From the old name, Catapult — artillery strider.
- CCR — Comet Catcher Redux — the flat vehicle map.
- Chix — Chicken Defense, a Tower Defense style game mode.
- Com(m) — Commander — the starting unit.
- Con — Constructor — any mobile unit with ability to build stuff.
- Cooked — destroyed, usually about players (but sometimes also individual units). See also: lobster.
- CS — ChainSaw — long range anti-air.
- Crow — mistyped Krow.
- Det — also detri — Detriment — the largest strider.
- DDM — Desolator, formerly known as the Doomsday Machine — heavy defensive structure.
- DF — DeinFreund — one of the developers.
- Dgun — Disintegrator Gun — class of special weapons that need manual activation using "D" key — for example Dante's missile volley or special commander weapons.
- Domi — Dominatrix — capture vehicle.
- DPS — Damage Per Second.
- DRP — Disco Rave Party — the superweapon.
- Drop — a "drop" happens when units are loaded into transports and then "dropped" somewhere, like the enemy base.
- DSD — Delta Siege Dry — a popular teams map.
- E — Energy — the resource.
- Eco — Economy — all resource-producing units and buildings.
- Elo — a rating system used for balancing games basing on estimated players skill (on which ZK's ladder ratings used to be based).
- EMP — ElectroMagnetic Pulse — paralyzer weapons, can also be used to mean an air player using Thunderbird.
- FFA — Free for All — a match with 3 or more teams.
- Fac — Factory — building that produces mobile units.
- FW — Firewalker — artillery bot.
- Fus — Fusion Reactor.
- Firepluk award — named after the player Firepluk; When a player resigns very early into the game but ends up winning anyways.
- Gaetor — Scorcher, formerly known as Instigator.
- Geo — Geothermal Powerplant or the spot where it can be built (also geospot).
- GF — GoogleFrog — one of the lead developers.
- GS — Gunships.
- Golly or Goli — Cyclops, formerly known as Goliath — heavy tank.
- Grid — energy grid — system of connected energy sources, part of overdrive. Structures are in the same grid if their "circles" touch.
- Icy — Icy Run v2, a popular map for (very) high density casual team games.
- IoG — Isle of Grief, a map.
- JJ — JumpJet Factory, now Jumpbot Factory.
- KR — KingRaptor — one of the core developers (currently known as Histidine).
- Licho — old name for Likho — heavy bomber plane. Also one of the core developers.
- Link — to link disconnected parts of energy grid together OR to link shields together.
- LLT — Light Laser Tower — the Lotus turret.
- Lobster — a taunt for a player who hasn't performed well in ongoing or previous battle(s).
- LoS — line of sight.
- LV — Light Vehicles (Factory) — LV got renamed to Rover Assembly.
- Leveler — old name for Ripper.
- M — Metal — the resource.
- Merl — old name for Impaler.
- Mex — Metal Extractor, to mex - the action of constructing extractors on untapped metal spots.
- Morph — to upgrade a Commander or a Geothermal Generator.
- Moho — old name for Advanced Geothermal.
- MT — Missile Tower — the Picket turret.
- Nano — Caretaker nanolathe tower — static constructor.
- Nap — to kidnap — usually "comnap" — capture enemy commander with air transport.
- NullAI — a "sandbox" skirmish opponent which does nothing, sometimes used as an insult.
- OD — OverDrive — overdrive pumps spare energy to metal extractors to improve their output, see economic section of the manual.
- OP — OverPowered — something is considered too good for its cost (e.g. a unit/module/ability). Also forum abbreviation for original poster, the person who started the current thread.
- OTA — (Original) Total Annihilation — a 1997 RTS game which ZK started out as a mod of (where "original" is to refer to the retail game as opposed to the collection of the various other mods it spawned).
- Owled — weak enough that it might as well not be in the game.
- Pene — Lance. From old name "Penetrator".
- Porc — from porcupine — heavy defenses, usually useless.
- Porcing — playing too defensively, not taking enough land.
- PW — PlanetWars — the online multiplayer campaign.
- Plop (fac) — deploying your first factory, which is free and builds instantly.
- Rec — Reclaim — command to recycle units, wreckages and map features.
- Ress/rez — Ressurection (common misspelled version of resurrection) — ability to recreate a unit from its wreckage.
- Reaper — old name for Minotaur.
- SD — Stardust.
- Singu — Singularity Reactor — most powerful, and most dangerous energy-producing structure.
- Shadow — old name for Raven — bomber plane.
- Shiny — huge explosion caused either by nuke, advanced geothermal or destruction of Singularity Reactor. Can also be used when a lot of bombs chain explode.
- Skydust — Stardust on a terraformed spire.
- Starlulz — Starlight.
- Stiletto — old name for Thunderbird.
- Sumo — old name for Jugglenaut.
- SSB — Small Supreme Battlefield — a remake of Seton's Clutch, the iconic map from Supreme Commander.
- Selfd — Self Destruct — usually meant as an encouragement to self destruct all your things using CTRL+A, CTRL+D keys to end the game; sometimes to self destruct a single unit for its powerful death explosion.
- Shield-ball — a group of units that have shields, usually containing Thugs, Felons, and possibly an Aspis.
- Stealth — also 'stealth-ball' — a group of units with personal cloaks (like Scythes, or under cloaking field of Aspis.
- TB — Thunderbird — area disable bomber plane.
- Terra — Terraform — a way to modify map's landscape.
- Tit d — Titan Duel, a popular map.
- Trollcom — a frontline Commander with a lot of investment, typically a disintegrator gun commander with high movement speed and stealth cloak.
- Tick — old name for Imp.
- Ubermex — a Metal Extractor spot with much more yield than usual (4+ while typical mex is 2).
- UP — UnderPowered — something is considered too weak for its cost (e.g. a unit/module/ability).
- Ulti — Ultimatum — cloaked anti-heavy strider.
- Vamp — old name for Raptor — air superiority fighter.
- Vindi — Hercules. From the old name Vindicator.
- Warrior — old name for Reaver.
- WHR — Whole History Rating — the rating system used for the ZK ladder. See also: Elo.
- Wubbernaut — a new player. Comes from wub (similar to nub) + naut (to explore).
- ZK — Zero Kelvin — the name of this game.