[ zig ]
/ zɪg /
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verb (used without object), zigged, zig·ging.
to move in one of the two directions followed in a zigzag course: He zigged when he should have zagged.
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Origin of zig

First recorded in 1785–95; extracted from zigzag
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does zig mean?

Zig 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 zag can be used to mean the same thing as zig. 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 zig 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 zig 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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What are some synonyms for zig?

  • zag (when used together, they can be considered opposites)

What are some words that share a root or word element with zig

What are some words that often get used in discussing zig?

How is zig used in real life?

Zig is very informal. It’s usually used alongside zag.



Try using zig!

Is zig 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 zig in a sentence