Origin of zigzag

1705–15; < French; replacing earlier ziczac < French < German zickzack, gradational compound based on Zacke tack1
Related formszig·zag·ged·ness [zig-zag-id-nis] /ˈzɪgˌzæg ɪd nɪs/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for zigzag

Contemporary Examples of zigzag

Historical Examples of zigzag

  • Where the drawing is white, cover the page with zigzag lines.

  • The voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • And there she was, waiting for them in the wet, at the first turn of the zigzag.

  • The lines of wall, floor and ceiling were strangely off proportion, zigzag, unrelated.


    Robert Sheckley

  • Carmena dropped it at his feet and began to zigzag down the mesa side.

    Bloom of Cactus

    Robert Ames Bennet

British Dictionary definitions for zigzag



a line or course characterized by sharp turns in alternating directions
one of the series of such turns
something having the form of a zigzag


(usually prenominal) formed in or proceeding in a zigzag
(of sewing machine stitches) produced in a zigzag by a swing needle used for joining stretch fabrics, neatening raw edges, etc


in a zigzag manner

verb -zags, -zagging or -zagged

to proceed or cause to proceed in a zigzag
(tr) to form into a zigzag
Derived Formszigzaggedness, nounzigzagger, noun

Word Origin for zigzag

C18: from French, from German zickzack, from Zacke point, jagged projection; see tack 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