[Q] flashing a rom.. root directory

I am on a mac. Whenever I try to "flash" a rom Ill find a file like cyanogen mod thats a .zip and then downloads as a folder with a bunch of stuff in it. How do I flash this rom to my root directory? Do i just drag this folder into my mounted phone? I am very new to rooting, i have superuser I'm fully unlocked I just don't know what it means to flash a rom.

I have read a million forums but still can't understand so any help would be great thanks!

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