In games where you can dodge a projectile from a ranged opponent by moving out of its way, it's possible to run in a perpendicular or zig-zag fashion to repeatedly dodge shots. Is there a word for this?

  • 9
    Strafing, maybe?
    – SaintWacko
    Jan 7 '15 at 16:21
  • 1
    Strafing is also what came to my mind but that's a way of moving and doesn't imply avoiding shots. Jan 7 '15 at 16:24
  • Strafing is good, but it might also imply you are shooting yourself (cf. circle strafing). Side-stepping (a projectile) is another option. Your question might also be appropriate to english.stackexchange.com, they do English language phrase requests.
    – Eric
    Jan 7 '15 at 16:36
  • @Eric - Video Game terminology is on topic here. Not that 'strafing' is purely gaming-specific, I just mean that the OP was obviously looking for an answer from a gaming-specific context :)
    – Robotnik
    Sep 20 '15 at 16:03

Lateral movement has many terms which are used in games: Strafing, Side-stepping, crab walking.

Lateral movement with intent to avoid slow moving projectiles... is pretty specific and doesn't really have commonly used gaming terms. Here are some scenarios and common terms used to describe them.

  • The projectile is headed for your current position. If you move out of the projectile path, terms that apply are "avoid" or "dodge".
  • The projectile has been launched with your current lateral movement in mind - aka the shooter used "leading". If you change your lateral movement, by stopping or reversing it, you will not enter the path of the projectile. A term that applies is "faking out". An advanced form of this is to make small lateral motions in place. The idea is to continuously generate lead targets in positions you never occupy, or generate lead targets which are behind obstacles.
  • The projectile is launched from a gun which has a specific turn rate (such as is found in eve-online). If your lateral motion outpaces the gun's turn rate, then the gun cannot "track" you. In eve-online, specifically, this movement is called "transverse" movement.
  • Note that crab-walking has an entirely different meaning in TF2 :)
    – Robotnik
    Sep 20 '15 at 16:01
  • I thought about including advancing in cover ( youtu.be/XBq27fUPon8?t=2m24s ), but the cover is what's protecting you, not the lateral motion... so it's not the same.
    – Amy B
    Sep 20 '15 at 17:34

My favorite word for this would be Serpentine:

a : winding or turning one way and another

I have heard this used specifically for dodging incoming fire (regardless if you're approaching or running away from said source of incoming fire).

Here's a good example.

  • 1
    +1, I use this and it's quite common amongst many gamers. It describes more specifically the act of moving perpendicular to your opponent's line-of-fire, as opposed to moving up or down it (towards or away from your opponent). "Dodge" is a more general term and is used more often though. Jan 8 '15 at 21:13
  • I usually hear this as "serpentine patterns". The Internet tells me it's originally a joke from the 1979 film The In-Laws. However, I think it's most memorable from Will Ferrell. Feb 16 '15 at 18:31

You answered your own question. Its dodging. Strafing is not strictly applicable as it applies to shooting at (or back at) a target - its original usage was to describe an attack run of a aircraft.

Jinking is a word that's sometimes specifically used to refer to dodging incoming fire.


  • Strafing has nothing to do with shooting back. If you look at the key definitions of many old games, moving sideways without turning was "strafe". It did not include shooting back in any way.
    – Tim S.
    Aug 10 '17 at 14:08

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