A situation in a chess game in which a player is forced to make an undesirable or disadvantageous move.
[German Zugzwang : Zug, pull, move (from Middle High German zuc, pull, from Old High German, from ziohan, to pull; see deuk- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots) + Zwang, compulsion (from Middle High German twanc, from Old High German).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.