# Word for a zig-zag polygonal line

We have to find an adjective to describe a family of abstract mathematical objects with a shape that (in an abstract setting) reminds of a diagonal polygonal line like the following.

The segments composing it can have arbitrary lengths, but are always at a 45° angle with the horizontal direction.

We first considered zig-zag, translating literally from our native language, but we were told by a colleague (also not a native English speaker) that it's not a common word at all in the US and would not be a good description. Also, most Google Image results for "zig-zag" return a regular pattern in which all segments have the same length, which is not our case.

Another suggestion was twisted.

What would be the most fitting term?

• I'm a reasonable linguist and I taught mathematics to beyond A-Level. You can never prove a negative, but I'd say the probability of your finding a better term than zig-zag is extremely low. // I'd check online to assess the reliability of your colleague's opinions. They don't match mine. And Wikipedia labels the most obvious example 'a regular zigzag'. Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 10:51
• ... The first non-regular example I saw in a Google image search, in an article by Jeremy Wagner, makes 'all Google Image results for "zig-zag" return a regular pattern in which all segments have the same length' rather suspect. / Dictionary definitions vary in the strengths of their suggestions of regularity for the bare term 'zigzag'. // Google Ngrams for zig-zag and zigzag for the relevant US corpora show little change from those based on the more general corpora. Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 11:09
• I think zigzag is a perfectly good name for this object. It's common enough that everybody knows what it is; it's not already in use as a mathematical term; and its real meaning is close to the definition you want. Much better than twisted. Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 11:35
• You could say 'crooked' but 'zig-zag' is better, in my opinion. Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 12:12
• Twisted is completely wrong though. It doesn't fit the straight segments and would describe loops better. The only other word I could offer is jagged but I don't recommend it over zigzag Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 12:48