Definition of Maltese cross in English:

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Maltese cross


1A cross with arms of equal length that broaden from the center and have their ends indented in a shallow V-shape.
Example sentences
  • In Allegory of the Faith alone, a pattern of what can be read as white Maltese crosses, each made from five tiles, is set on a black background.
  • The + signs in the decorative line below the title are Maltese crosses in the original.
  • The Prince of Scandanavia, a sleek 22,578-gross-register-ton ship with a white Maltese cross in a blue circle emblazoned on her impressive funnel, was ready for boarding both passengers and vehicles.
2A plant of the pink family (Lychnis chalcedonica), with small scarlet petals arranged in the shape of a Maltese cross.
Example sentences
  • Green grasses also work well for separating strong colors and boldly patterned blooms, such as the intense red heads of Maltese cross and the bull's-eye stripes of blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora).
  • We planted Maltese crosses, phlox, snapdragons, and other interesting plants.


So named because the cross was formerly worn by the Knights of Malta, a religious order.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Mal·tese cross

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