AskDefine | Define zigzag

The Collaborative Dictionary

Zigzag \Zig"zag`\, a. Having short, sharp turns; running this way and that in an onward course. [1913 Webster]
Zigzag \Zig"zag`\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Zigzagged; p. pr. & vb. n. Zigzagging.] To form with short turns. [1913 Webster]
Zigzag \Zig"zag`\, v. i. To move in a zigzag manner; also, to have a zigzag shape. --R. Browning. [1913 Webster]
Zigzag \Zig"zag`\, n. [F. zigzag, G. zickzack, from zacke, zacken, a dentil, tooth. Cf. Tack a small nail.] [1913 Webster]
Something that has short turns or angles. [1913 Webster] The fanatics going straight forward and openly, the politicians by the surer mode of zigzag. --Burke. [1913 Webster]
(Arch.) A molding running in a zigzag line; a chevron, or series of chevrons. See Illust. of Chevron,
[1913 Webster]
(Fort.) See Boyau. [1913 Webster]

Word Net

zigzag adj : having short sharp turns or angles n : an angular shape characterized by sharp turns in alternating directions [syn: zig, zag] adv : in a zigzag course or on a zigzag path; "birds flew zigzag across the blue sky" v : travel along a zigzag path; "The river zigzags through the countryside" [syn: crank] [also: zigzagging, zigzagged]

Moby Thesaurus

L, V-shaped, Y-shaped, aberrancy, aberrant, aberration, aberrative, akimbo, alternate, angle, angle off, angular, apex, avoidance, avoiding reaction, back and fill, battledore and shuttlecock, bend, bendy, bent, bias, bifurcate, bifurcation, bight, branch, branching off, cant, chevron, chevronwise, chevrony, circuitous, circuitousness, circumvention, coin, come and go, corner, cornered, crank, crankiness, crankle, crankled, crook, crooked, crookedness, crotched, crotchet, curve, curvy, declination, defense mechanism, deflect, deflection, departing, departure, desultory, detour, deviance, deviancy, deviant, deviate, deviating, deviation, deviative, deviatory, devious, deviousness, diffract, diffuse, digression, digressive, discursion, discursive, disperse, distort, divagation, divarication, diverge, divergence, diversion, divert, dodge, dogleg, double, drift, drifting, duck, ebb and flow, elbow, ell, elusion, elusiveness, equivocation, errant, errantry, erratic, escape, evasion, evasive action, evasiveness, excursion, excursive, excursus, exorbitation, flexuosity, flexuous, forbearance, forestalling, forestallment, fork, forked, furcal, furcate, furcation, geniculate, geniculated, getting around, hairpin, hitch and hike, hook, hooked, indirect, indirection, inflection, jagged, jink, knee, knee-shaped, labyrinthine, mazy, meandering, neutrality, nonintervention, noninvolvement, nook, obliquity, out-of-the-way, pass and repass, pererration, planetary, point, pointed, prevention, pull, quoin, rambling, reciprocate, refract, refraining, ride and tie, roving, saw-toothed, sawtooth, scatter, seesaw, serpentine, serrate, sharp, sharp-cornered, sheer, shift, shifting, shifting course, shifting path, shunning, shunting off, shuttle, shuttlecock, shy, sidestep, sidetracking, skew, slant, slip, snaky, stagger, staggered, stray, straying, sweep, swerve, swerving, swing, swinging, switchback, tack, teeter, teeter-totter, the runaround, to-and-fro, turn, turning, twist, twisting, twisty, undirected, vagrant, variation, veer, veering, vertex, wandering, warp, wax and wane, wibble-wabble, wigwag, winding, yaw, zag, zig, zigzaggery, zigzaggy, zigzagways



German zickzack


  1. a line or path that proceeds by sharp turns in alternating directions
    Finnish: siksakki
  2. one of such sharp turns


  • Norwegian: sikksakk


  1. Moving in, or having a zigzag


  1. to move in a zigzag manner



  1. in a zigzag manner or pattern

Proper noun

  1. a small town in Oregon
otheruses Zig zag
A zigzag is a pattern made up of small corners at variable angles, though constant within the zigzag, tracing a path between two parallel lines; it can be described as both jagged and fairly regular. From the point of view of symmetry, a regular zigzag can be generated from a simple motif like a line segment by repeated application of a glide reflection. Equally it is the juxtaposition of chevrons, or of forward slashes and backslashes:
Lightning is often drawn as a zigzag, with long downward strokes and short backward ones. Stores of the defunct U.S. retail chain The Treasury (also Treasure Island) each had a distinct zigzag roof, many of which still survive on reused buildings nearly three decades after the chain closed. The roof zigzag was also seen on the store logo.
An automobile can move in a zigzag, that is, not going straight, but instead turning left and right and left repeatedly. In a city where streets are oriented toward the four cardinal directions, this would be illustrated by, for example, driving north, west, north, west, north, west, and so on around the city blocks, in order to go northwest. (This would not make the trip any shorter; however, it might avoid traffic.)
The trace of a triangle wave or a sawtooth wave is a zigzag. Pinking shears are designed to cut cloth or paper with a zigzag edge, to lessen fraying. Zigzags are a basic decorative pattern used on pottery, and often for the cuts which separate ravioli.
In sewing, a zigzag stitch is a machine stitch in a zigzag pattern. Tightly spaced zigzag stitches are used to emulate embroidery stitches such as satin stitch, and to reinforce buttonholes. A zigzag stitch is also used as a non-structural seam, to temporarily hold two panels together edge-to-edge (and eliminate the ridge that would "x-ray" through). This is done when another panel will overlay the seam and provide support.
zigzag in German: Zick-Zack
zigzag in Esperanto: Zigzago
zigzag in Hebrew: זיגזג
zigzag in Dutch: Zigzag (lijn)
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