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also zigzag, 1712, from French zigzag (1670s), perhaps from German Zickzack (though this is attested only from 1703), possibly a reduplication of Zacke "tooth, prong." Earliest use in German is in reference to military siege approaches. Originally in English used to describe the layout of certain garden paths. The verb is recorded from 1787.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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  • As the Silence walked on, I could see the grass waving in zig-zag curves across the river.

    Kari the Elephant Dhan Gopal Mukerji
  • From this zig-zag set of lines we have the term Tom Cox's traverse (which see).

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • When the sun shines they fly in 492 a zig-zag manner, but their flight is not continued for long together.

    The Insect World Louis Figuier
  • I stayed accordingly, determining to be home by the zig-zag at the appointed hour.

  • The face of the cliff was very precipitous, and it was only by a zig-zag course that it could be effected.

    The Great Frozen Sea Albert Hastings Markham
  • On the commencement of the zig-zag below, there were soldiers, the sight of whom was not confusing.

    Vittoria, Complete George Meredith
  • I descended the road which was zig-zag and steep, and at last arrived at the bottom of the valley, where there was a small hamlet.

    Wild Wales George Borrow
  • She levelled her plane and flew in a zig-zag course to spoil her enemys aim.

    Gypsies of the Air Bess Moyer
  • With all his qualities of heart and brain he has not managed to discard his zig-zag impetuosity.

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