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1.
A "get tough" policy of making no exceptions in regards to a particular (usually criminal or undesirable) matter, born as a response to a general sense of uneaven application of rules and punishments.

To react to a proscribed activity or substance with absolute prejudice... Without regard to mitigating circumstances or conditions.
I don't care if you've got glaucoma, we have a zero tolerance policy to drugs, including marijuana.

We will react to sexism and racism with zero tolerance.
by Honor June 23, 2004
 
2.
A policy that was put into use by United States schools and other establishments soon after the Columbine tragedy.
In practice, zero tolerance policies allow for no weapons or dangerous objects in school.
However, the noun "weapon" can mean "an object that can be used to cause harm"; the phrase "dangerous objects" is a plural of the same meaning; therefore, almost any object can be considered a weapon.
Because of this, overzealous officials often unleash horrificaly exaggerated sentences for the silliest of things.
A 7-year-old boy was suspended for pretending to shoot his classmates.
by Captain Penguin June 24, 2004
 
3.
Authoritarian rule system whereby breaking of the rules is taken very seriously and punishment is overly severe to get the message through.
The dictator took a stance of zero tolerance on ideaology that caused him any disrepute, and so gave his political opponents acid baths.
by Kung-fu Jesus June 23, 2004
 
4.
Besides being used to describe draconian and uniform (goodbye punishment that fits the crime) policys of law enforcement and schools, zero tolerance can also refer to the war on drugs in another way.

It refers to that no drugs (though not as much towards alcohol since the alcohol companies help fund anti-drug organizations bullshit) are acceptable to be taken recreationaly. Pure abstinence over drugs. Too bad for them humans don't work that way. There have been drug users for as long as humans have known of their existence.
It doesn't know how many this is your brain on drugs commercials you air, how many people you arrest and how many civil rights you violate, people will always use and abuse drugs. Whatever the hell drug abuse means....

And people looking to sell them will always exist no matter how draconian the laws are.

Zero tolerance once again = zero intelligence
by Arm March 05, 2006
 
5.
Politician speak for Zero Intelligence.

Zero Tolerance laws exist to punish the innocent. The guilty already are already fucked so having strict, uniform punishments regardless of the circimstances of the "crime," the persons criminal record and the persons intentions is just stupid.
Anybody who supports zero tolerance policys need to be thrown into a concentration camp until they arent dumbasses. For I have zero tolerance for stupidity.
Being arrested for being DWI even though you are far from being drunk. Mandatory minimum sentences.

As far as school zero tolerance policys go, read around www.zerointelligence.net.
by Arm October 17, 2005
 
6.
A common phrase referring all lack of being able to tolerate something. Often a policy referring to various rules to increase strictness and banish all regard for anything against the zero tolerance policy.
"Schools have a zero tolerance policy to guns, understandably, but even leather trenchcoats, pieces of a weapon, chains, certain 'threatening' perephinelia, and all sorts of other things. Pretty soon, there will be a zero tolerance policy for CLOTHES."
-me
by Dave September 23, 2004
 
7.
A policy, usually by American schools that any reference to a gun, violence, or drugs will get you expelled automatically with no trial.
Because of zero tolerance, Markie was suspended for pointing a chicken strip at a teacher and said, "bang!"
by Tom Bomb December 28, 2005