Origin of zag
Words nearby zag
What does zag mean?
Zag is an informal verb that means to move in one of the directions in a zigzag pattern.
A zigzag is a line of alternating, sharp up-and-down turns that form peaks and valleys kind of resembling the letter Z. Zigzag can also be used as a verb meaning to move back and forth while traveling forward in a way that resembles this pattern.
The word zig can be used to mean the same thing as zag. However, the two terms are typically used together, in which case they mean to move in opposite directions. This is usually used in a somewhat humorous way.
Zig and zag are most commonly used in the context of physical movement, but they are sometimes used in situations in which people keep doing different things, such as when changing their minds back and forth.
Example: I threw the ball where I said I was going to throw it, but you zigged when you should have zagged!
Where does zag come from?
The first records of the words zig and zag come from the late 1700s. The word zigzag has been used since at least the early 1700s. It comes from the French ziczac, from the German zickzack, which is based on the German Zacke, meaning “point” or “jagged projection.” Both zig and zag came from zigzag—not the other way around.
Zigzag patterns have jagged points from the line sharply moving up and then back down. To zigzag is to move in this way, and to zag is to move in one of those diagonal directions. Saying that someone is “zigzagging all over the state” (meaning they are traveling back and forth across it) is the same as saying they are “zigging and zagging all over the state.”
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How is zag used in real life?
Zag is very informal. It’s usually used alongside zig.
— H. P. OLIVER 🇺🇸 (@HP_Oliver) September 12, 2017
Brian Lewerke's broke his tibia vs. U-M last year. But he's still zigging and zagging across the field. https://t.co/wSsh0t2dtL
— GreenandWhite.com (@LSJGreenWhite) October 6, 2017
Still true that Sixers ownership is dumb and runs from one shiny object to the next. It's true that constant zigzagging is bad long term. It's also true that Daryl Morey is a competent executive and the team absolutely needed to zag from where it last zigged.
— Colin McDonnell (@colinpmcdonnell) October 28, 2020
Try using zag!
Is zag used correctly in the following sentence?
Sometimes in life, you zig when you should zag and end up making the wrong decision.
How to use zag in a sentence
In his book “Zero to One,” Thiel argues that fortunes are built not by luck or unfair advantage, but by discerning investors and founders who are more courageous than their peers, leaders who zig when the crowd zags.Lord of the Roths: How Tech Mogul Peter Thiel Turned a Retirement Account for the Middle Class Into a $5 Billion Tax-Free Piggy Bank|by Justin Elliott, Patricia Callahan and James Bandler|June 24, 2021|ProPublica
But he also sees this zig-zag price movement compressing, and soon to break.
As the Silence walked on, I could see the grass waving in zig-zag curves across the river.
Then all this stopped and on the wet undergrowth again there was a movement like the zig-zag stripe of the tiger's skin.
About a mile off he saw two men coming slowly up by a zig-zag path toward the very point where he stood.It Is Never Too Late to Mend|Charles Reade
My walk during the day had been of such a zig-zag nature that I had lost my compass points, and had made no landmarks.Yorkshire Oddities, Incidents and Strange Events|S. Baring-Gould
Only too soon we were in the midst of terribly crevassed ground, through which one could only thread a slow and zig-zag course.The Home of the Blizzard|Douglas Mawson