<hardware> (ZIF) A kind of socket for integrated circuits. A ZIF socket can be opened and closed by means of a lever or screw. When open, there the chip may be placed in the socket without any pressure at all, the socket is then closed, causing its contacts to grip the pins of the chip. Such sockets are used where chips must be inserted and removed frequently, such as in test equipment. They are more expensive and usually take up more space than conventional IC sockets.