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(one) zigged when (one) should have zagged

1. One moved in a particular direction but should have moved in a different direction in order to avoid some obstacle or impediment. A reference to moving from side to side in a zigzag pattern. A: "The running back had the chance to break away for a touchdown, but he was brought down by the other team's linebacker in a bone-crunching tackle." B: "Yep, looks like he zigged when he should have zagged." I nearly beat the final boss of the game, but I zigged when I should have zagged at the very last moment and he ended up killing me. Oh, sorry I bumped into you—I zigged when I should have zagged.
2. By extension, one acted in a way that resulted in a worse outcome than if they had done something different. Everyone assumed that it was an open-and-shut case, but the prosecution's controversial decision not to question the company's CEO is leaving many wondering if they zigged when they should have zagged. He really should have won the election, but he zigged when he should have zagged by focusing so much of his campaign on taxes instead of attacking his opponent's political policies. Man, you zigged when you should have zagged. What were you thinking, going on a public tirade about our competitors?
See also: have, should, zag, zig

zig when (one) should zag

1. To move in a particular direction when one should move in a different direction in order to avoid some obstacle or impediment. A reference to moving from side to side in a zigzag pattern. Oof, the running back just got walloped by the linebacker. He zigged when he should have zagged! Be careful trying to beat the final boss—if you zig when you should zag, you'll fall off the platform and die.
2. By extension, to act in a way that results in a worse outcome than if one had done something different. Their CEO tends to zig when he should zag, making inflammatory comments rather than taking responsibility for the company's wrongdoing. You need to attack your opponent's political policies, not keep focusing so much on taxes—you're zigging when you should be zagging!
See also: should, zag, zig
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

zigged when one should've zagged

perfomed one deed when another deed would have been better; to do something inconsequentially different from another thing. I don't know why she complained. I guess I zigged when I should have zagged.
See also: one, zag, zig
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


mod. alcohol intoxicated. How can anybody get so zagged on three beers?
See also: zag
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Serum ZAG levels were determined by commercially available human zincalpha2-glycoprotein ELISA kits according to the manufacturer's instruction (Cloud-Clone Corp, Houston, USA).
Quality ingredients, fine meat, home-made pasta, seafood and tempting desserts will all be available at the Zig Zag Brasserie & Bar.
"Most awards shows claim to be international but seem quite satisfied by filling most of the jury seats from in and around their regions,"said Zag."To me, New York Festivals has always stood out for not taking the easy route.Also, in the past few years, they've upped the ante with the quality of their judges and the clear mandate given to them.
“Zig Zag are fast growing, independent British TV producer with some fantastic new shows and formats in development,” said Justin Crosby, founder of Boom!
The zig gag man With the big zag pan Felt the gig bag can Hit the rig
China bans the Tibetan Zag from events under rules which prevent the display of flags of countries not competing in the Games.
Automotive Industries (AI) asked Zag founder Scott Painter (SP) what will be the next wave in car buying.
The site, to be called impreAuto, is being created in partnership with Zag Inc.
The Spirit Awards honored New York's Pegu Club and Seattle's Zig Zag Cafe as the Best Classic Cocktail Bars and the World's Best Cocktail Bars.
Zn-[alpha]2-glycoprotein (ZAG) [1] is a glycoprotein with a molecular mass of ~41000 Da and a crystal structure similar to that of a class I major histocompatibility complex (1,2).
Schools are erecting giant banners outside their gates depicting children lying down on yellow zig zag road markings.
If I could use only one word to describe the label for Mendocino Wine Company's new Zig Zag Zinfandel, I'd have to say: smokin'!
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, July 2004: Wittlinger has been a successful author of YA novels such as Hard Love, Razzle, and Zig Zag. Here she tells a story through e-mails and letters, still somewhat of a novelty in YA fiction.
Karl Power and pal Thomas Dunn waged a year-long campaign of harassment against Zig Zag Productions.