cross (krôs, krŏs)
a. An upright post with a transverse piece near the top, on which condemned persons were executed in ancient times.
b. often Cross The cross upon which Jesus was crucified.
c. A crucifix.
d. Any of various modifications of the cross design, such as a Latin cross or Maltese cross.
e. A medal, emblem, or insignia in the form of a cross.
2. Cross The Christian religion; Christianity.
3. Christianity The sign of the cross.
4. A trial, affliction, or frustration. See Synonyms at burden.
5. A mark or pattern formed by the intersection of two lines, especially such a mark (X) used as a signature.
6. A movement from one place to another, as on a stage; a crossing.
7. A pipe fitting with four branches in upright and transverse form, used as a junction for intersecting pipes.
8. Biology A plant or animal produced by crossbreeding; a hybrid.
9. One that combines the qualities of two other things: a novel that is a cross between romance and satire.
a. A hook thrown over an opponent's punch in boxing.
b. A pass made into the center of the field to a player in position to score, especially in soccer.
11. Law An act or instance of cross-examining; a cross-examination.
12. The Southern Cross.
13. Slang A contest whose outcome has been dishonestly prearranged.
v. crossed, cross·ing, cross·es
1. To go or extend across; pass from one side of to the other: crossed the room to greet us; a bridge that crosses the bay.
2. To carry or conduct across something: crossed the horses at the ford.
3. To extend or pass through or over; intersect: Elm Street crosses Oak Street.
4. Sports To propel (a ball or puck) as a cross, as in soccer.
a. To delete by drawing a line through: crossed tasks off her list as she did them.
b. To eliminate or dismiss as unimportant or undesirable: “He thought about Mr. Fraser and crossed him off as an unknown quantity” (Scott O'Dell).
c. To make or put a line across: Cross and divide a circle.
6. To place crosswise one over the other: cross one's legs.
7. To make the sign of the cross upon or over as a sign of devotion or blessing.
8. To encounter in passing: His path crossed mine.
9. To combine the qualities of two things: a movie that crosses horror with humor.
10. To interfere with; thwart or obstruct: Don't cross me.
11. To betray or deceive; double-cross. Often used with up.
12. Biology To crossbreed or cross-fertilize (plants or animals).
13. Law To cross-examine.
1. To lie or pass across each other; intersect.
a. To move or extend from one side to another: crossed through Canada en route to Alaska.
b. To make a crossing: crossed into Germany from Switzerland.
3. To meet in passing; come into conjunction: Their paths crossed at the health club.
4. To move or be conveyed in opposite directions at the same time: Our letters must have crossed in the mail.
5. Biology To crossbreed or cross-fertilize.
1. Lying or passing crosswise; intersecting: a cross street.
2. Contrary or counter; opposing.
3. Showing ill humor; annoyed.
4. Involving interchange; reciprocal.
5. Crossbred; hybrid.
1. To change from one condition or loyalty to another.
2. Genetics To exchange genetic material. Used of homologous chromosomes.
To ruin completely: Their lack of cooperation crossed up the whole project.
cross (one's) mind
To come to know; realize: It crossed my mind that you might want to leave early.
cross (one's) t's
To be thorough or painstaking in attending to details.
cross (someone's) palm
To pay, tip, or bribe.
To quarrel or fight.
cross your fingers
Used to encourage someone to hope for a successful or advantageous outcome: I think I'm going to get the job offer-cross your fingers!
[Middle English cros, from Old English, probably from Old Norse kross, from Old Irish cros, from Latin crux.]
(click for a larger image)cross
top: Maltese and St. Andrew's
center: patriarchal, Greek, and tau
bottom: Latin, Calvary, and Celtic
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.