A zigzag is a pattern made up of small corners at variable angles, though constant within the zigzag, tracing a path between two parallel lines; it can be described as both jagged and fairly regular. Traditionally a "zig" points in the left direction (/) and a "zag" points right ().From the point of view of symmetry, a regular zigzag can be generated from a simple motif like a line segment by repeated application of a glide reflection. Equally it is the juxtaposition of chevrons, or of forward slashes and backslashes:


Lightning is often drawn as a zigzag, with long downward strokes and short backward ones. Stores of the defunct U.S. retail chain The Treasury (also Treasure Island) each had a distinct zigzag roof, many of which still survive on reused buildings nearly three decades after the chain closed. The roof zigzag was also seen on the store logo.

An automobile can move in a zigzag, that is, not going straight, but instead turning left and right and left repeatedly. In a city where streets are oriented toward the four cardinal directions, this would be illustrated by, for example, driving north, west, north, west, north, west, and so on around the city blocks, in order to go northwest. (This would not make the trip any shorter; however, it might avoid traffic.)

The trace of a triangle wave or a sawtooth wave is a zigzag. Pinking shears are designed to cut cloth or paper with a zigzag edge, to lessen fraying. Zigzags are a basic decorative pattern used on pottery, and often for the cuts which separate ravioli.

In sewing, a zigzag stitch is a machine stitch in a zigzag pattern. Tightly spaced zigzag stitches are used to emulate embroidery stitches such as satin stitch, and to reinforce buttonholes. A zigzag stitch is also used as a non-structural seam, to temporarily hold two panels together edge-to-edge (and eliminate the ridge that would "x-ray" through). This is done when another panel will overlay the seam and provide support.

Zig-Zag® is also the name of a popular brand of cigarette rolling papers.

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  • zigzag — [ zigzag ] n. m. • 1718; en ziczac 1694; « assemblage articulé de pièces en losange pouvant s allonger et se replier à volonté » 1662; formation expressive évoquant un va et vient ♦ Ligne brisée formant des angles alternativement saillants et… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • zigzag — ZIGZÁG, zigzaguri, s.n. Linie frântă care pare formată din mai multe litere Z puse cap la cap. ♢ loc. adv. În zigzag = în formă de linie frântă, şerpuit. [var.: zigzác s.n.] – Din fr. zigzag, germ. Zickzack. Trimis de valeriu, 02.06.2003. Sursa:… …   Dicționar Român

  • zigzag — [zig′zag΄] n. [Fr, prob. < Ger zickzack, redupl. < zacke, a tooth, sharp prong or point] 1. a series of short, sharp angles or turns in alternate directions, as in a line or course 2. something characterized by such a series, as a design,… …   English World dictionary

  • Zigzag — ig zag , n. [F. zigzag, G. zickzack, from zacke, zacken, a dentil, tooth. Cf. {Tack} a small nail.] [1913 Webster] 1. Something that has short turns or angles. [1913 Webster] The fanatics going straight forward and openly, the politicians by the …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Zigzag — ig zag , v. i. To move in a zigzag manner; also, to have a zigzag shape. R. Browning. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • zigzag — m. Línea que en su desarrollo forma ángulos alternativos, entrantes y salientes. en zigzag. loc. adj. U. para denotar movimiento, colocación, etc., en esta clase de línea. U. t. c. loc. adv.) …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • zigzag — ► NOUN ▪ a line or course having abrupt alternate right and left turns. ► ADJECTIVE & ADVERB ▪ veering to right and left alternately. ► VERB (zigzagged, zigzagging) ▪ take a zigzag course. ORIGIN German Zickzack …   English terms dictionary

  • Zigzag — ig zag , a. Having short, sharp turns; running this way and that in an onward course. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Zigzag — Zig zag , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Zigzagged}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Zigzagging}.] To form with short turns. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • zigzag — index circuitous, indirect, indirection (ii direct action), sinuous, tortuous (bending) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • zigzag — ‘Línea que en su desarrollo forma ángulos alternativos, entrantes y salientes’. Su plural es zigzags (→ plural, 1h): «Para andar por él había que hacer zigzags entre los montones de libros» (Alba Pájaro [Esp. 1975]). Se desaconseja su escritura… …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas