Definitions

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

  • n. A line or course that proceeds by sharp turns in alternating directions.
  • n. One of a series of such sharp turns.
  • n. Something, such as a road or design, that exhibits one or a series of sharp turns.
  • adj. Moving in or having a zigzag.
  • adv. In a zigzag manner or pattern.
  • intransitive v. To move in or form a zigzag: a destroyer zigzagging to evade torpedos.
  • transitive v. To cause to move in or form a zigzag.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a line or path that proceeds by sharp turns in alternating directions
  • n. one of such sharp turns
  • adj. Moving in, or having a zigzag.
  • v. to move in a zigzag manner
  • adv. in a zigzag manner or pattern

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. 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.
  • n. A formation with a succession of sharp turnings or angles; something that has a number of abrupt angulations, like those of chain-lightning.
  • n. Specifically
  • n. A winding path with sharp turns, as up the side of a steep mountain.
  • n. 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.
  • n. In architecture, same as chevron, 2.
  • n. In the fisheries, a salmon-stair or fish way.
  • n. 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 WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. having short sharp turns or angles
  • adv. in a zigzag course or on a zigzag path
  • adj. having short sharp turns or angles
  • v. travel along a zigzag path
  • n. an angular shape characterized by sharp turns in alternating directions

Etymologies

French, alteration of zic-zac, from German Zickzack, perhaps reduplication of Zacke, tooth, cog, from Middle High German zacke, point, nail.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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). (Wiktionary)

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?

  • 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

  • Or perhaps we might liken him to that ingenious piece of firework 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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