Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A line or course that proceeds by sharp turns in alternating directions.
  • noun One of a series of such sharp turns.
  • noun Something, such as a road or design, that exhibits one or a series of sharp turns.
  • adjective Moving in or having a zigzag.
  • adverb In a zigzag manner or pattern.
  • intransitive verb To move in or form a zigzag.
  • intransitive verb To cause to move in or form a zigzag.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A sharp turning back and forth or in and out; an irregular, abrupt angulation; one of a series of sharp turns in a linear or curvilinear course: nearly always in the plural.
  • noun A formation with a succession of sharp turnings or angles; something that has a number of abrupt angulations, like those of chain-lightning.
  • noun Specifically
  • noun A winding path with sharp turns, as up the side of a steep mountain.
  • noun In fortification, a trench of approach against a fortress, so constructed that the line of trench may not be enfiladed by the defenders: same as boyau.
  • noun In architecture, same as chevron, 2.
  • noun In the fisheries, a salmon-stair or fish way.
  • noun In entomology, a British moth, Bombyx dispar.
  • Having sharp and quick turns or flexures; turning frequently back and forth; in botany, angularly bent from side to side.
  • In a zigzag manner; with frequent sharp turns.
  • To move or advance in a zigzag fashion; form zigzags in a course; turn sharply back and forth.
  • To form in zigzags, or with short turns or angles.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To form with short turns.
  • noun Something that has short turns or angles.
  • noun (Arch.) A molding running in a zigzag line; a chevron, or series of chevrons. See Illust. of Chevron, 3.
  • noun (Fort.) See Boyau.
  • intransitive verb To move in a zigzag manner; also, to have a zigzag shape.
  • adjective Having short, sharp turns; running this way and that in an onward course.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun a line or path that proceeds by sharp turns in alternating directions
  • noun one of such sharp turns
  • adjective Moving in, or having a zigzag.
  • verb to move in a zigzag manner
  • adverb in a zigzag manner or pattern

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective having short sharp turns or angles
  • adverb in a zigzag course or on a zigzag path
  • adjective having short sharp turns or angles
  • verb travel along a zigzag path
  • noun an angular shape characterized by sharp turns in alternating directions

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French, alteration of zic-zac, from German Zickzack, perhaps reduplication of Zacke, tooth, cog, from Middle High German zacke, point, nail.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Attested from 1712. Borrowing from French zigzag (attested from 1662), possibly from a Germanic source via Walloon ziczac (although German Zickzack is attested only from 1703).

Examples

  • Shooting at them on the zigzag is iffy at best, but hard to resist.

    what is a snipe and how do you hunt them?

  • Shooting at them on the zigzag is iffy at best, but hard to resist.

    what is a snipe and how do you hunt them?

  • The trench, like all the others, was excavated in short, zigzag lengths, so that no point, either to right or left, commanded more than a score of yards of it.

    Michael

  • Butterflies, too, and moths of every size and pattern; some wide-winged like bats, flapping slowly and sailing in easy curves; others like small flying violets shaking about loosely in short zigzag flights close to the flowers, feasting in plenty night and day.

    Steep Trails

  • This refers to the zigzag bolt on his forehead, where his Voldemort-marked story began.

    News - chicagotribune.com

  • The resulting kilns, known as the zigzag kilns, have a faster firing schedule than the Hoffmann kiln.

    Chapter 10

  • _Chevron_ -- an inflected moulding, also called zigzag, characteristic of Norman architecture.

    Scottish Cathedrals and Abbeys

  • This section is termed the zigzag tubule; it ends in a convoluted tube, which resembles the proximal convoluted tubule, and is called the distal convoluted tubule.

    XI. Splanchnology. 3b. The Urinary Organs

  • It was as much climbing as marching, and, as Bill Gedge said, "all agin the collar;" but the men did not seem to mind, as they mounted higher and higher in the expectation of finding that the next turn of the zigzag was the top of the pass.

    Fix Bay'nets The Regiment in the Hills

  • Or perhaps we might liken him to that ingenious piece of fire-work called a zigzag cracker, which explodes with unexpected and repeated suddenness, changing its position in a most perplexing manner at every crack.

    The Young Fur Traders

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