Definition of cross in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /krɒs/


Image of cross
1A mark, object, or figure formed by two short intersecting lines or pieces (+ or ×): place a cross against the preferred choice
More example sentences
  • Watch any low budget pre-election television show, lay back and listen while the terminally dumb mumble their excuses for not being able to put a cross on a piece of paper and pop it into a battered tin box.
  • Initially voters were required to mark as many crosses as there were vacancies and the candidates with greatest support, usually from the same party, were elected.
  • With the pointed end of a potato peeler or a small, sharp knife, cut out the core of the tomatoes and lightly mark a cross on their undersides.
1.1A cross (×) used to show that something is incorrect or unsatisfactory: the class sat quiet, waiting anxiously for the verdict—a tick or a large cross
More example sentences
  • Use a green tick if the best option was chosen, a yellow tick for a partially correct answer, and a red cross for a totally wrong answer.
  • Put a cross against the wrong answer.
  • And there's ticks and crosses to indicate everyone's preferences.
2An upright post with a transverse bar, as used in antiquity for crucifixion.
Example sentences
  • May that which is unholy within me be nailed to the sacrificial cross of crucifixion and may that which pleases you be raised in the holy and blessed hope of the ressurection.
  • His duties even called on him to be the first person to try out the cross for the Crucifixion scene.
  • They replaced a decaying wooden Celtic cross that was in a dangerous and hazardous state.
crucifix, rood
2.1 (the Cross) The cross on which Christ was crucified: the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross
More example sentences
  • The foundation of the Church is always the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.
  • This was an expression of all the sins of the world put into one cup and poured out on Christ while He was on the Cross.
  • Your old sinful life was put to death on the Cross with Jesus, and buried with him in the grave.
2.2A cross as an emblem of Christianity: she wore a cross around her neck
More example sentences
  • One way she does this is by stripping down, multiplying, and opening up the central symbol of Christianity, the cross.
  • Noting my covetousness, a native woman lifted her cross off her neck and placed it around mine.
  • A bible hung from his belt, and he wore a cross around his neck.
2.3 short for sign of the cross (see sign).
Example sentences
  • He muttered what sounded like a prayer and made a cross on himself.
  • She bowed her head and made a cross over her chest in reverence of the departed woman.
  • Then he stands straight and with his left hand holding out his staff towards us, makes a cross in the air, speaking the ritual he has been taught for occasions such as this
2.4A staff surmounted by a cross carried in religious processions and on ceremonial occasions before an archbishop.
Example sentences
  • Then the Vicar-General and some of the Franciscan fathers came ashore carrying two crosses in procession and singing the Te Deum.
  • He was extremely poor, illiterate and kept himself to himself, but liked attending church processions and carrying the cross or the pictures of Saints.
  • They then carried a cross through the streets to the Methodist Church for a united act of worship led by the Rev Mary Teed.
3Something unavoidable that has to be endured: she’s just a cross we have to bear
More example sentences
  • I pray they can carry their particular cross as we all carry ours.
  • No human should have to endure the cross of suffering.
  • It was during their short time in Shrule prior to moving to Cong that they suffered a great cross with the sudden death of their only child, Ann Marie, at the age of two years.
burden, trouble, worry, trial, tribulation, affliction, curse, bane, hardship;
vicissitude, misfortune, adversity;
millstone, albatross;
misery, woe, pain, sorrow, suffering, torment;
thorn in one's flesh, thorn in one's side
informal hassle, stress, headache
archaic cumber
4A cross-shaped decoration awarded for personal valour or indicating rank in some orders of knighthood: the Military Cross
More example sentences
  • Seven among them were awarded St. George's crosses, the highest and most coveted military order in czarist Russia.
  • Since that time there have been a total of 1,354 crosses awarded.
  • Myles proved to be a valiant soldier and was awarded two Papal emblems, a medal and a cross at the end of the war.
5 (the Cross) The constellation Crux. Also called Southern Cross.
6An animal or plant resulting from cross-breeding; a hybrid: a Galloway and shorthorn cross
More example sentences
  • The first step is to make a cross between two parent plants.
  • Grandifloras are a cross between hybrid teas and floribundas.
  • Most hybrid striped bass that consumers purchase are a cross between female white bass and male striped bass.
hybrid, hybridization, cross-breed, mixed breed, half-breed, half blood, mixture, amalgam, blend, combination, composite, conglomerate;
mongrel, cur
6.1 (a cross between) A mixture or compromise of two things: the system is a cross between a monorail and a conventional railway
More example sentences
  • He was an imposing figure, a cross between Humpty Dumpty and a brigadier, who had rowed hard in his youth.
  • It's a cross between rap and line dancing if you can categorise it at all.
  • Weblogs, or blogs for short, are a cross between a diary, a web site, and an online community.
7 Soccer A pass of the ball across the field towards the centre close to one’s opponents' goal: Beckham’s low cross was turned into the net by Cole
More example sentences
  • He creates so many goals for others with his precision crosses and his sweeping through balls.
  • His limp cross was kicked towards the Leeds goal by Ian Harte and only a smart save by Nigel Martyn kept things equal.
  • The former Rochdale man delivered a pin-point low cross for top-scorer Foster to turn home from close range.
8 Boxing A blow given with a crosswise movement of the fist: a right cross
More example sentences
  • Jason kneed him in the stomach before following the blow with a right cross to his mouth.
  • Faster than I could recover, he whipped his massive fist into a right cross that took me in the jaw.
  • The messages from Moore's brain to the rest of his body were immediately scrambled by the perfectly timed right cross, and Moore fell down to the canvas in a heap.


[with object]
1Go or extend across or to the other side of (an area, stretch of water, etc.): she has crossed the Atlantic twice two paths crossed the field figurative a shadow of apprehension crossed her face [no object]: we crossed over the bridge
More example sentences
  • It was also hazardous for pedestrians to cross Cemetery Road, and she suggested traffic lights and a pelican crossing were needed.
  • Determined, she waited for a clear road before crossing the busiest stretch in the city to the other side.
  • Residents were also concerned that it would mean children having to cross New Road Side - even though the council has said a pedestrian crossing would be installed.
travel across, go across, cut across, make one's way across, traverse, range over, tramp over, wander over;
negotiate, navigate, cover
span, bridge, arch, ford;
go across, extend across, stretch across, pass over, arch over, vault over
1.1Go across or climb over (an obstacle or boundary): he attempted to cross the border into Jordan [no object]: we crossed over a stile
More example sentences
  • The row erupted among a group of about 10 men - at least two of whom had crossed the nearby Border from the south.
  • Tens of thousands of mobile phone customers are believed to be caught in the trap of incurring international charges every time they cross the Border for work and leisure.
  • But persuading our English neighbours to cross the Border is a bigger problem than anyone thought.
1.2 [no object] (cross over) (Especially of an artist or an artistic style or work) begin to appeal to a different audience, especially a wider one: a talented animator who crossed over to live action
More example sentences
  • His album is out there at the moment getting people used to the raw style, which is always lost as an artist crosses over into the mainstream market.
  • They may have been featured on the South Bank Show, but the duo have been trying to cross over to a mass audience for a while now without much success.
  • Art is symbolic, and crosses over into many different genres.
2 [no object] Pass in an opposite or different direction; intersect: the two lines cross at 90°
More example sentences
  • Noticing this, he squeezed in as close as possible to the vehicle he was passing and we crossed with no more than a couple of feet to spare.
  • There were two tubes crossing in different directions.
  • Our paths never crossed again after playgroup anyway.
intersect, meet, join, connect, criss-cross, interweave, intertwine
2.1 [with object] Cause to intersect or lie crosswise: cross the cables in opposing directions Michele sat back and crossed her arms
More example sentences
  • Setting the tray down in the middle of the rug, David sat, crossing his legs.
  • I crossed my room and flicked on my stereo, turning it up as loud as it could then I sat on my bed with my legs crossed underneath me.
  • In addition, he showed how to decode body language: crossing one's legs when sitting was a sign of uneasiness, while standing with one's legs wide apart was the hallmark of a braggart.
2.2(Of a letter) be dispatched before receipt of another from the person being written to: our letters crossed
More example sentences
  • It would appear that our letters crossed and I therefore repeated this request on 15th May.
  • A letter from Alstom also of 18 June probably crossed with that letter.
  • Maybe the letters crossed over in the post.
3Draw a line or lines across; mark with a cross: voters should ask one question before they cross today’s ballot paper
More example sentences
  • She told me to heighten the letter i and to cross my t's so that the horizontal bar is equally long on both sides of the vertical line.
3.1British Mark or annotate (a cheque), typically by drawing a pair of parallel lines across it, to indicate that it must be paid into a named bank account: (as adjective crossed) a crossed cheque
More example sentences
  • Extreme caution is needed where cheques are crossed and marked account payee only.
  • Subcontractors are also advised to pay workers by auto pay or crossed cheques.
  • This means that it is at the risk of the bank to accept a crossed cheque into someone else's account when it is written in favour of somebody else, which means that banks don't generally accept them.
3.2 (cross someone/thing off) Delete a name or item on a list as being no longer required or involved: Liz crossed off the days on the calendar
More example sentences
  • The auction will make the perfect opportunity to gather some Christmas presents and cross some names off that list.
  • Jack Shanahan watched as the guard crossed his name off the list at the doorstep of Belle Henderson's three story home.
  • He also crossed his name off of the list of the dead.
3.3 (cross something out/through) Delete an incorrect or inapplicable word or phrase by drawing a line through it: cross out any portions which do not apply
More example sentences
  • On one line, all but three words were crossed out, replaced with a phrase.
  • If a section does not apply to you, cross it through with a line and the words ‘not applicable’.
  • Sheets that showed a translator writing lines, crossing them out, going back to what he crossed out… What a library would give for them today!
delete, strike out, strike through, ink out, score out, scratch out, block out, blank out, edit out, blue-pencil, cancel, eliminate, obliterate
technical dele
4 (cross oneself) (Of a person) make the sign of the cross in front of one’s chest as a sign of Christian reverence or to invoke divine protection: Beatie crossed herself quickly at the mention of the dead
More example sentences
  • Ted said thanks for the evening and Mary crossed herself and invoked some sort of biblical curse.
  • I walked towards the hooded figure who had been crossing himself and stood in front of him, palms facing out to indicate that I offered no threat.
  • She crushed the list against her chest and crossed herself.
5 Soccer Pass (the ball) across the field towards the centre when attacking: he could not get to the line to cross the ball [no object]: Powell crossed from the left
More example sentences
  • His ability to cross the ball and pass it over very long distances absolutely astonishes people.
  • Frank Foley went on a run from centre back, crossed the ball into the square for Thomas Doyle to equalise.
  • Germany attack down the left, the ball is crossed and Lukas Podolski tries a volley from inside the D of the Italy penalty area.
6Cause (an animal of one species, breed, or variety) to breed with one of another species, breed, or variety: many animals of the breed were crossed with the closely related Guernsey
More example sentences
  • Arabian stallions were crossed with a few English mares at the end of the 17th and start of the 18th centuries to produce the thoroughbred.
  • Merino ewes, grown for their wool, are crossed with a meat breed, such as a border Leicester ram, to produce so-called first-cross meat sheep.
  • The South American bee was crossed with the African bee, the idea being to create a more ‘resistant’ bee, a hardy all-weather insect.
6.1Cross-fertilize (a plant): a hybrid tea was crossed with a polyantha rose
More example sentences
  • Sixty-one triploid F 1 plants were crossed with diploid pollen donors for testcrosses.
  • A total of 23 flowers were crossed, and 33 flowers were submitted to mixed pollinations.
  • The frequency of embryo formation was similar to that obtained by crossing wheat with maize pollen.
hybridize, cross-breed, interbreed, cross-fertilize, cross-pollinate, intercross, mix, intermix, blend
7Oppose or stand in the way of (someone): no one dared cross him
More example sentences
  • So then, you've got PMS, and you're on the warpath, and you know that anyone who dares to cross you in any way, gets it!
  • Lately, he's taken to assailing university officials who dare to cross him on this explosive issue.
  • After suing anyone who dared to cross him, Douglas was finally imprisoned himself for libeling Winston Churchill.
oppose, resist, defy, thwart, frustrate, foil, obstruct, impede, hinder, hamper, block, check, deny, contradict, argue with, quarrel with;
stand up to, take a stand against, take issue with, put up a fight against, set one's face against, fly in the face of
formal gainsay
rare controvert


Annoyed: he seemed to be very cross about something
More example sentences
  • Now I think I was more cross with my mum than I was with my dad for not being there - I was definitely Daddy's little girl.
  • Yes, you might be able to tell, I am feeling quite cross with the world at large.
  • I remember being terribly cross with him, but he got away with a great deal because of his personal charm.
angry, annoyed, irate, irritated, in a bad mood, peeved, vexed, upset, irked, piqued, out of humour, put out, displeased, galled, resentful;
irritable, short-tempered, bad-tempered, hot-tempered, ill-humoured, surly, churlish, disagreeable, irascible, touchy, snappy, snappish, impatient, peevish, petulant, fractious, crotchety, grouchy, grumpy, querulous, cantankerous, testy, tetchy, crabby, captious, splenetic, choleric, dyspeptic, waspish
informal mad, hopping mad, wild, livid, as cross as two sticks, apoplectic, aerated, hot under the collar, riled, on the warpath, up in arms, foaming at the mouth, steamed up, in a lather, in a paddy, fit to be tied
British informal shirty, stroppy, narky, ratty, eggy, not best pleased
Northern English informal mardy
North American informal sore, steamed, bent out of shape, soreheaded, teed off, ticked off
Australian/New Zealand informal ropeable, snaky, crook
West Indian informal vex
British informal, dated in a bate, waxy
vulgar slang pissed off
North American vulgar slang pissed
literary ireful, wroth



as cross as two sticks

British Very annoyed or irritated: she was as jumpy as a cat and as cross as two sticks
More example sentences
  • Because of this I have been as cross as two sticks for the last couple of hours and my pain and anger has led me to eat cake when I am supposed to be detoxing.
  • I really get as cross as two sticks when I get to a city and find out they have forgotten that it should be possible for bikes to pass without great difficulties.
  • It is then that that he gets very frowny and shouty and looks as cross as two sticks, like Geoff, though not as sexy.

at cross purposes

Misunderstanding or having different aims from one another: we had been talking at cross purposes
More example sentences
  • I suspect the opposing sides may be at cross purposes at times, and that a solid working definition could clarify the debate.
  • I think we're talking at cross purposes here pal, that's the one I bought a few weeks ago, hence the fifteen quid well spent.
  • Well, i don't think this's going anywhere, but it's a shame, as I still get the impression we're talking at cross purposes.

cross one's fingers

(or keep one's fingers crossed)
Put one finger across another as a sign of hoping for good luck: we will be keeping our fingers crossed that a quick thaw is on its way
More example sentences
  • However all concerned are keeping their fingers crossed in the hope that the work will be completed.
  • We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that the blood tests will prove negative.
  • This year, we'll just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope all will be well.

cross the floor

British Join the opposing side in Parliament.
Example sentences
  • The cardinal crime in the Labor calendar has traditionally been ‘to rat’; that is, to cross the floor and join the opposition.
  • He was once a Labour councillor in the city, but crossed the floor to join the Tories.
  • Thus, it was not a new development, when, after the 2001 elections, a handful of members of Parliament crossed the floor from opposition parties to the ruling MMD party.

cross my heart (and hope to die)

Used to emphasize the truthfulness and sincerity of what one is saying: I’m deadly serious—cross my heart and hope to die
More example sentences
  • Just tell me the truth and I cross my heart, I won't tell anyone else in the world.
  • Our cows, cross my heart, have the choice of their own vets while local horses have no need to wait for elective surgery.
  • ‘I can tell you with the utmost truth, cross my heart and hope to die and all the rest of it, one Sunday night we heard Tokyo Rose and her propaganda broadcast,’ says Don, now aged 75.

cross one's legs

Place one leg over the other while seated: I crossed my legs and leaned back in my chair
More example sentences
  • She fled back to the stoop, seating herself there, crossing her legs.
  • She was from Texas, she said, crossing her legs.
  • She leans back in her chair, lazily crossing her legs.

cross one's mind

(Of a thought) occur to one, especially transiently: it had not crossed Flora’s mind that they might need payment
More example sentences
  • That was the last thought that crossed his mind before his mind shut down and he drifted into blissful sleep.
  • He is unflinching mentally: ‘I don't think about what's happened to me in the past and it never crosses my mind when I'm playing I might get hurt.‘
  • But despite all of this, and despite the 16-page pullout supplement, Canada never even crosses my mind as a holiday destination.
occur to one, come to one, come to mind, spring to mind, enter one's mind/head, strike one, hit one, dawn on one, come into one's consciousness, suggest itself

cross someone's palm with silver

humorous Pay someone for a favour or service, especially before having one’s fortune told: we strongly suspect her palm had been crossed with silver in return for her silence
More example sentences
  • I fall for it every time; who wouldn't - the chance for follicular perfection by just crossing someone's palm with silver.
  • I am the gipsy Zara, and if you cross my palm with silver, I will venture to advise you on your adventures.
  • Some people don't even say thank you, but they do cross my palm with silver, so I can't complain.

cross someone's path

Be met or encountered: she got to know people who wouldn’t ordinarily cross her path their paths crossed years later at Manchester University
More example sentences
  • From now on, I do so solemnly swear that whoever crosses my path will meet a very painful end.
  • During our normal daily lives in our own countries, the variety of interesting characters we meet in Pattaya probably would not cross our path.
  • I don't think I recall any Malaysian fiction ever crossing my path, so this is a first.

cross swords

Have an argument or dispute: the two leaders crossed swords
More example sentences
  • An intense and sometimes fiery debate resulted in councillors crossing swords on a number of occasions.
  • And I'm sure our leaders have exaggerated the extent to which they enjoyed crossing swords with him.
  • I don't think I'd fancy crossing swords with him in open debate.

crossed line

A telephone connection that has been wrongly made with the result that another call or calls can be heard: the system will be totally secure from crossed lines and tapping
More example sentences
  • Sorry, there must be a crossed line, I can't hear what you're saying!
  • Yesterday, over a crossed line, she heard a murder being planned.
  • I'm just about to put the phone down, when I hear muffled voices in the background like a crossed line.

get one's wires (or lines) crossed

Become wrongly connected by telephone.
Example sentences
  • Mobile phone punters in London have been having the weirdest conversations after the phone company admitted that it has been getting its wires crossed.
12.1Have a misunderstanding: somewhere along the line someone had got their wires crossed, that much was clear
More example sentences
  • I think it's you who've got your wires crossed.
  • Also, let me point out that you've got your wires crossed.
  • This was an organised trip with written permission, and someone has got their wires crossed, and the whole thing has snowballed.

have a/one's cross to bear

Have a difficult problem or responsibility one has to deal with: as a smoker, I can tell you it’s a horrible habit, but that’s my cross to bear
More example sentences
  • Oh, well, we all have our crosses to bear.
  • We all have our cross to bear in life.
  • We all have our cross to bear, I suppose.



Example sentences
  • The Arizona-based American Border Patrol, which monitors illegal alien traffic and reports border crossers to immigration officials, is one of several groups critical of the president's plan.
  • While I've been fairly critical of certain floor crossers in the past (let's just call them JL and BS), I do think a bill like this is a bad idea.
  • We can't absolutely, perfectly and hermetically seal 7,000 miles of land borders and keep out 100 percent of illegal crossers.


Pronunciation: /ˈkrɒsli/
Example sentences
  • ‘Surely men have a right to be present at the birth considering they are present at the conception,’ he piped up rather crossly.
  • ‘Maybe see a psychiatrist as well!’ his wife said crossly as she walked out of the room.
  • Though she said it crossly, I know she was annoyed with me for doubting myself.


Pronunciation: /ˈkrɒsnəs/
Example sentences
  • One of the things I hated about the election was its crossness.
  • If you guys hadn't stood up, burnt your bras, vocalised your crossness and proved yourself as vocal and as argumentative as your male counterparts, then probably I would be in the relaxed position I am today.
  • His crossness about the fact that Head of News at the BBC is now a woman fills me with awe.


Late Old English (in the sense 'monument in the form of a cross'): from Old Norse kross, from Old Irish cros, from Latin crux.

  • The word cross was initially used in English to refer to a monument in the form of a cross. The source is Old Norse kross, which in turn goes back to crux, a Latin word that gave us crucial, crucible (Late Middle English) originally a night light or the sort that might be hung in front of a crucifix (Middle English), and excruciating.

    People cross their fingers to ward off bad luck. What they are doing is making a miniature ‘sign of the cross’, whether they know it or not. To cross someone's palm with silver is to pay them for a favour or service. It probably comes from the idea of tracing the shape of a cross on a fortune-teller's palm with a silver coin before you are told what the future has in store.

    In 49 bc Julius Caesar, having defeated the Gauls, brought his army south to fight a civil war against Pompey and the Roman Senate. When he crossed the Rubicon, a small river marking the boundary between Italy and the Roman province of Gaul, he was committed to war, having broken the law forbidding him to take his troops out of his province. Cross meaning ‘annoyed’ dates back to the 17th century. It derives from the nautical idea of a wind blowing across the bow of your ship rather than from behind, which produced the senses ‘contrary, opposing’, and ‘adverse, opposed’, and then ‘annoyed, bad-tempered’. Crosspatch (early 18th century) is based on the obsolete word patch meaning ‘fool, clown’, perhaps from Italian pazzo ‘madman’.

Words that rhyme with cross

across, boss, Bros, cos, crosse, doss, dross, emboss, en brosse, floss, fosse, gloss, Goss, joss, Kos, lacrosse, loss, moss, MS-DOS, Ross

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cross

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.