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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.
A seismograph showing zigzag lines

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.

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]

In seismology, earthquake recorded in a "zigzag line" form by using seismograph.[4]

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.
  4. ^ "Seismograph - What is a seismograph?". SMS-Tsunami-Warning.com. Retrieved 8 January 2023.



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