Zig Zag

Meanings of “Zig Zag”

The phrase “zigzag” refers to a series of small lines inclined at angles in left and right directions instead of straight lines. The movement of a snake is described as a zig zag pattern. The phrase is also used with a hyphen and without space.

Origin of “Zig Zag”

The phrase “zig zag” is said to have its initial traces in the book of medicine published in 1706, where it is stated as; “eenige in de voorstad van St. Germain zig zag bewegen”

which loosely translates into English as: “some in the suburb of St. Germain move zig zag”

Later, in 1781, William Cowper used this phrase in figurative terms in his work, Conversations, where it is stated as: “Though such continual zigzags in a book, such drunken reelings, have an awkward look.” Since then, the phrase has been used by various authors, conveying different shades of meanings.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Zig Zag Road by Seema Chowdhury

In the zig Zag road
Of your life
Learn the art
To always drive
The car in it
With some care
For this is what
Life is dear
And learn in life
To always enjoy
All life’s troubles
And swap it with joy
And try to collect
Some happy times
And in that sing
The pleasure’s rhyme
So you can cross
The zig zag road
Without the feelings
Of burden and load.

This poem uses the phrase ‘zig zag’ as a metaphor for life, stating that life never runs on a smooth path. It always confronts us with difficult challenges. The zigzag road of our life makes us travel in a lot of mysterious ways in which we encounter varied emotions. To her, we should stay on the road with a firm grip and should learn to endure the troubles, pains, and problems with a smile on our faces. Thus, the phrase has been shown used as an extended metaphor of uncertainties of life.

Example #2

Looking Outside the Window by Darlene De Beaulieu

It was yesterday
The brown grass was seen
Waking in the morn
The scene was different

Joe Ann looked outside
A sudden change seen
The wind was blowing
The snow was dancing

Making the snow move
In a zig zag form
The snowflakes dancing
In the empty field.

This short poem describes the enchanting sights of nature that rejuvenate the speaker. He illustrates the weather he experienced the day before that brought joy to him. The strong gust of winds made the snow dance in a zigzag form, while the moving grass and dancing snowflakes also delighted his eyes. Therefore, the phrase has been used in literal meanings throughout the poem in the third last line of the last stanza.

Example #3

A Mountain’s Morning by Amy Wallace

Zig-zag mountain tips lay against the sky, marigold true.
They are sleeping giants waiting for the dawn.
As golden light seeps through
The blazing sun wakes adagio with a yawn.
Sun rays begin to unrest the peaks; a new day is in spawn.

This short poem describes the mastery of God present in the form of natural objects. She talks about the symmetry of mountains that lay against the sky in a zigzag shape. The quiet, tall, and well-designed mountains seem like sleeping giants waiting for the sun. Soon, the golden sun rays appear, a new day begins to disturb their peaceful sleep The phrase is used as a denotation in the first line.

Example #4

Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity by Robert Keith Sawyer

“Successful creators engage in an ongoing dialogue with their work. They put what’s in their head on paper long before it’s fully formed, and they watch and listen to what they’ve recorded, zigging and zagging until the right idea emerges.”

This excerpt occurs in Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity written by Robert Keith Sawyer. The book offers eight steps program to increase anyone’s creative potential. While discussing the traits of highly creative minds, the author states that they put abstract ideas on paper and shape and reshape it until it comes in its usable form. They ponder and reconsider their judgments till the time they hit the right idea. This zigzagging enables them to understand how they can come up with many refined ideas. The phrase used in the title as well as in the last line of the excerpt is used as an extended metaphor.

Examples in Sentences

Example #1: “Sam shouted that he could easily climb the zigzag road to reach the mountain top.”

Example #2 “Instead of escaping by moving away from the lion, the deer preferred taking the zigzag path to avoid it.”

Example #3: “Jenny’s house was located in a narrow street and to get there, we had to pass the zig-zag path and crossed several zebra crossing. Thus, we parked the car on the road and approached her on foot.”

Example #4: “The zigzag or diamond-shaped patterns on the walls of the art gallery grabbed our attention.”

Example #5: “Although they tried to follow the straight route to come out of the dense forest, yet when they reached in the middle, they realized that the straight path merged into various zigzag routes.”