From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Drawing of a zigzag.

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.

In geometry, this pattern is described as a skew apeirogon. 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.

Although the origin of the word is unclear, its first printed appearances were in French-language books and ephemera of the late 17th century.[1]

Examples of zigzags[edit]

A 2-metre carpenter's ruler with centimetre divisions
Road sign warning for upcoming zigzag turn.

Lightning and other electrical hazards are often depicted with a zigzag design, with long downward strokes and short backward ones.

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.

A carpenter's folding ruler can be folded to look like a zigzag.

Zigzags are a basic decorative pattern used on pottery, and are often seen in the cuts which separate pieces of ravioli pasta.

In sewing, a zigzag stitch is a machine stitch in a zigzag pattern.

The zigzag arch is an architectural embellishment used in Islamic, Byzantine, Norman and Romanesque architecture.[2][3]

The stripe on Charlie Brown's famous yellow shirt is a zigzag.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Google Books: "Word Origins and how we know them"
  2. ^ Allen, Terry (1986). "4". A Classical Revival in Islamic Architecture. Wiesbaden.
  3. ^ Allen, Terry (2008). Pisa and the Dome of the Rock (electronic publication) (2nd ed.). Occidental, California: Solipsist Press. ISBN 978-0-944940-08-2. Retrieved January 28, 2012.