In general is there a convention as to how one interprets squiggly lines in chemical structure notation?

e.g. see the below sketch. I suppose it has something to do with cis / trans isomerism. But e.g. where do you draw the squiggly i.e. which side of the double bond? Is it used in other contexts as well? And does it mean we don't know which isomer is formed or does it mean we are talking about a cis + trans mixutre?

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Larger context here (so the explanation about variable chain length may not make sense?)

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  • $\begingroup$ I'd guess that the squiggly line is supposed to represent various aliphatic chains of different lengths. I don't know that it is any standard convention. $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Commented Jan 15, 2021 at 6:56
  • $\begingroup$ @MaxW Thanks! I added more context about the sketch I took this snippet from. If you look at the reaction scheme the variable length explanation would not make sense, right? OTOH I recall seeing used squiggly lines in that context as well. Hence the question! $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 15, 2021 at 7:10
  • $\begingroup$ It seems that the squiggly line is supposed to represent the single bond between conjugated double bonds. It isn't a typical aliphatic bond in that it is shorter and has a barrier to rotation. $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Commented Jan 15, 2021 at 7:53


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