zig-zag

also zigzag, 1712, from French zigzag (1670s), perhaps from German Zickzack (though this is attested only from 1703), possibly a reduplication of Zacke "tooth, prong." Earliest use in German is in reference to military siege approaches. Originally in English used to describe the layout of certain garden paths. The verb is recorded from 1787.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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