wigwag

[wig-wag]
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verb (used with or without object), wig·wagged, wig·wag·ging.
  1. to move to and fro.
  2. Nautical. to signal by movements of two flags or the like waved according to a code.
noun
  1. Nautical. the act or process of sending messages by the movements of two flags or the like waved according to a code.
  2. a message so signaled.

Origin of wigwag

1575–85; wig to wag (now dial.) + wag; gradational compound, parallel to zigzag, etc.
Related formswig·wag·ger, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for wigwag

wigwag

verb -wags, -wagging or -wagged
  1. to move (something) back and forth
  2. to communicate with (someone) by means of a flag semaphore
noun
    1. a system of communication by flag semaphore
    2. the message signalled
Derived Formswigwagger, noun

Word Origin for wigwag

C16: from obsolete wig, probably short for wiggle + wag 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012