Definition of zigzag in English:



  • 1A line or course having abrupt alternate right and left turns.

    ‘she traced a zigzag on the metal with her finger’
    • ‘Two models that have been proposed for this higher-order structure include a regular spiral and an irregular zigzag.’
    • ‘Rectangular cells, gently arching lines and compressed zigzags proliferate across the supports.’
    • ‘Females will fly to their nests in zigzags or semi-circles to avoid leading a predator directly to the nest.’
    • ‘The object flew a straight line course with no stops, starts or zigzags.’
    • ‘she shows weals on her thigh, thin green lines in a short zigzag.’
    • ‘The company allowed for a zigzag rather than a linear route to the top.’
    • ‘Lines of anger cut across her forehead - a zigzag of violent emotions.’
    • ‘The police are having to take positive action in a bid to stop parents dropping off or picking up their children on the zigzag lines outside three more schools.’
    1. 1.1A turn on a zigzag course.
      ‘the road descends in a series of sharp zigzags’


  • Having the form of a zigzag; veering to right and left alternately.

    ‘when chased by a predator, some animals take a zigzag course’
    • ‘Gung-ho climbers can tackle the zigzag trail up the steep incline.’
    • ‘He initiated this possibility by manipulating versions of the liar's paradox with zigzag graphs of truth and falsehood states.’
    • ‘Have a look inside for the jazzy zigzag Norman chancel arch.’
    • ‘For very bulky sweater knits, serge-finish the raw edges, then seam with a narrow to medium zigzag stitch.’
    • ‘These small white cells form a continuous zigzag pattern that recalls a cardiogram; indeed, Kulik sees the artist as the heartbeat of society.’
    meandering, zigzagging, snaking, snaky, winding, wiggly, squiggly, crooked, tacking, twisting, twisty, full of twists and turns, curving, curvy, wavy, deviating, undulating, sinuous, serpentine, tortuous, irregular
    sinuate, ogee
    anfractuous, flexuous, meandrous, serpentiform
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  • So as to move right and left alternately.

    ‘she drives zigzag across the city’


  • Have or move along in a zigzag course.

    ‘the path zigzagged between dry rises in the land’
    • ‘He's been zigzagging across the continent for nearly 20 years, non-stop.’
    • ‘The sighting happened at 2: 30 AM, and was announced by a local radio station claiming the object was zigzagging in the night sky.’
    • ‘We zigzagged through Boerum Hill, turning at every corner.’
    • ‘Half an hour later, Willie's nose zigzagged up a rise onto level patch of sun where, a hundred years ago, a house had stood.’
    • ‘The path zigzagged through the now disused Caw Quarry, first past a stone hut and then past the opening of an old level.’
    • ‘I once rented a scooter and zigzagged along most of San Miguel's streets to see the neighborhoods.’
    • ‘In April, he was loaded onto a snow-filled train that zigzagged through Germany and Czechoslovakia for three weeks.’
    • ‘They were on a small path that zigzagged towards an unpleasant looking cave.’
    • ‘It took us around four hours, zigzagging down steep scree, traversing rock walls with sheer drops to one side.’
    • ‘We zigzagged over the whole country like crazy.’
    • ‘Butterflies feasted on purple asters, and dragonflies zigzagged over the buttonbushes, which bore a crop of round, dry fruits.’
    • ‘The distance wasn't even that long, but the path zigzagged so much it doubled the walking distance.’
    • ‘For two weeks he sat on a bus that zigzagged along the eastern seaboard picking up other criminals who were being reassigned from one jail to another.’
    • ‘At length the road became nothing more than a path, zigzagging down a crumbling mountain slope.’
    • ‘From there we zigzagged up a sometimes steep but relatively easy path, and crossed a few patches of snow to reach the lake.’
    • ‘He moved unpredictably like lightning, zigzagging towards Kitsumi in a crookedly random path.’
    • ‘Sense starts zigzagging like the lightning logo bolting across Captain Marvel's costume.’
    • ‘Even with the new snow, I could see a faint trail zigzagging up the ridge.’
    • ‘They zigzagged along until Estrella found herself in the familiar surroundings of the underground meeting hall.’
    • ‘They zigzagged on every wall like miniscule bumper cars.’
    meander, snake, twist, twist and turn, tack, wind, weave, wander, wiggle, squiggle, undulate
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Early 18th century: from French, from German Zickzack, symbolic of alternation of direction, first applied to fortifications.