a. A line or course that proceeds by sharp turns in alternating directions.
b. One of a series of such sharp turns.
2. Something, such as a road or design, that exhibits one or a series of sharp turns.
Moving in or having a zigzag.
In a zigzag manner or pattern.
v. zig·zagged, zig·zag·ging, zig·zags
To move in or form a zigzag: a destroyer zigzagging to evade torpedoes.
To cause to move in or form a zigzag.
[French, alteration of zic-zac, from German Zickzack, perhaps reduplication of Zacke, tooth, cog, from Middle High German zacke, point, nail.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.