cross over


  1. a structure consisting essentially of an upright and a transverse piece, used to execute persons in ancient times.
  2. any object, figure, or mark resembling a cross, as two intersecting lines.
  3. a mark resembling a cross, usually an X, made instead of a signature by a person unable to write.
  4. the Cross, the cross upon which Jesus died.
  5. a figure of the Cross as a Christian emblem, badge, etc.
  6. the Cross as the symbol of Christianity.
  7. a small cross with a human figure attached to it, as a representation of Jesus crucified; crucifix.
  8. a sign made with the right hand by tracing the figure of a cross in the air or by touching the foreheard, chest, and shoulders, as an act of devotion.
  9. a structure or monument in the form of a cross, set up for prayer, as a memorial, etc.
  10. any of various conventional representations or modifications of the Christian emblem used symbolically or for ornament, as in heraldry or art: a Latin cross; a Maltese cross.
  11. the crucifixion of Jesus as the culmination of His redemptive mission.
  12. any suffering endured for Jesus’ sake.
  13. the teaching of redemption gained by Jesus’ death.
  14. the Christian religion, or those who accept it; Christianity; Christendom.
  15. an opposition; thwarting; frustration.
  16. any misfortune; trouble.
  17. a crossing of animals or plants; a mixing of breeds.
  18. an animal, plant, breed, etc., produced by crossing; crossbreed.
  19. a person or thing that is intermediate in character between two others.
  20. Boxing. a punch thrown across and over the lead of an opponent.
  21. Older Slang. a contest the result of which is dishonestly arranged beforehand: Many of the onlookers, especially some who had bet heavily on Taylor, complained loudly that the fight was a “damnable cross.”
  22. a crossing.
  23. a place of crossing.
  24. Plumbing. a four-way joint or connection.
  25. Theater. an actor’s movement from one area of a stage to another.
  26. Also called cross-trade. Stock Exchange. an arrangement for the simultaneous sale and purchase of a block of stock handled by a single broker.
  27. Machinery. spider(def 6b).
  28. (initial capital letter) Astronomy. Southern Cross.

verb (used with object)

  1. to move, pass, or extend from one side to the other side of (a street, river, etc.).
  2. to put or draw (a line, lines, etc.) across.
  3. to cancel by marking with a cross or with a line or lines (often followed by off or out).
  4. to mark with a cross.
  5. to lie or pass across; intersect.
  6. to meet and pass.
  7. to transport across something.
  8. to assist or guide (a person) across a street or intersection: The guard crossed the child at the traffic light.
  9. to place in the form of a cross or crosswise.
  10. Biology. to cause (members of different genera, species, breeds, varieties, or the like) to interbreed.
  11. to oppose openly; thwart; frustrate.
  12. Slang. to betray; double-cross.
  13. to make the sign of a cross upon or over, as in devotion: to cross oneself.
  14. Nautical. to set (a yard) in proper position on a mast.
  15. Obsolete. to confront in a hostile manner.

verb (used without object)

  1. to lie or be athwart; intersect.
  2. to move, pass, or extend from one side or place to another: Cross at the intersection.
  3. to meet and pass.
  4. to interbreed.
  5. Theater. to move from one side of the stage to the other, especially by passing downstage of another actor.

adjective, cross·er, cross·est.

  1. angry and annoyed; ill-humored; snappish: Don’t be cross with me.
  2. lying or passing crosswise or across each other; athwart; transverse: cross timbers.
  3. involving a reciprocal action, interchange, or the like: a cross-endorsement of political candidates; cross-marketing of related services.
  4. contrary; opposite: They were at cross purposes with each other.
  5. adverse; unfavorable.
  6. crossbred; hybrid.

Verb Phrases

  1. cross over,
    1. Biology.(of a chromosome segment) to undergo crossing over.
    2. to switch allegiance, as from one political party to another.
    3. to change successfully from one field of endeavor, genre, etc., to another: to cross over from jazz to rock.
    4. to die; pass away.

    Also cross over to the other side.

  2. cross up,
    1. to change arrangements made with; deceive: He crossed me up after we had agreed to tell the police the same story.
    2. to confuse: I was supposed to meet him at the station, but got crossed up.
  1. bear one’s cross, to accept trials or troubles patiently.
  2. cross one’s heart. heart(def 24).
  3. cross one’s mind. mind(def 37).
  4. cross one’s path. path(def 7).
  5. cross someone’s palm (with silver), to give money to, especially in payment for a service: I shall tell your fortune, but you must first cross my palm with silver.
  6. cross the line, line1(def 68).
  7. on the cross, Older Slang. in a dishonest manner; illegally: Her elegant clothes and those two splendid rings had been acquired on the cross.
  8. take the cross, to make the vows of a crusader.

noun the Cross

  1. the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified
  2. the Crucifixion of Jesus


  1. Richard Assheton, 1st Viscount. 1823–1914, British Conservative statesman, home secretary (1874–80); noted for reforms affecting housing, public health, and the employment of women and children in factories


  1. a structure or symbol consisting essentially of two intersecting lines or pieces at right angles to one another
  2. a wooden structure used as a means of execution, consisting of an upright post with a transverse piece to which people were nailed or tied
  3. a representation of the Cross used as an emblem of Christianity or as a reminder of Christ’s death
  4. any mark or shape consisting of two intersecting lines, esp such a symbol (×) used as a signature, point of intersection, error mark, etc
  5. a sign representing the Cross made either by tracing a figure in the air or by touching the forehead, breast, and either shoulder in turn
  6. any conventional variation of the Christian symbol, used emblematically, decoratively, or heraldically, such as a Maltese, tau, or Greek cross
  7. heraldry any of several charges in which one line crosses or joins another at right angles
  8. a cruciform emblem awarded to indicate membership of an order or as a decoration for distinguished service
  9. (sometimes capital) Christianity or Christendom, esp as contrasted with non-Christian religionsCross and Crescent
  10. the place in a town or village where a cross has been set up
  11. a pipe fitting, in the form of a cross, for connecting four pipes
  12. biology
    1. the process of crossing; hybridization
    2. an individual produced as a result of this process
  13. a mixture of two qualities or typeshe’s a cross between a dictator and a saint
  14. an opposition, hindrance, or misfortune; affliction (esp in the phrase bear one’s cross)
  15. slang a match or game in which the outcome has been rigged
  16. slang a fraud or swindle
  17. boxing a straight punch delivered from the side, esp with the right hand
  18. football the act or an instance of kicking or passing the ball from a wing to the middle of the field
  19. on the cross
    1. diagonally
    2. slangdishonestly


  1. (sometimes foll by over) to move or go across (something); traverse or intersectwe crossed the road
    1. to meet and passthe two trains crossed
    2. (of each of two letters in the post) to be dispatched before receipt of the other
  2. (tr; usually foll by out, off, or through) to cancel with a cross or with lines; delete
  3. (tr) to place or put in a form resembling a crossto cross one’s legs
  4. (tr) to mark with a cross or crosses
  5. (tr) British to draw two parallel lines across the face of (a cheque) and so make it payable only into a bank account
  6. (tr)
    1. to trace the form of the Cross, usually with the thumb or index finger upon (someone or something) in token of blessing
    2. to make the sign of the Cross upon (oneself)
  7. (intr) (of telephone lines) to interfere with each other so that three or perhaps four callers are connected together at one time
  8. to cause fertilization between (plants or animals of different breeds, races, varieties, etc)
  9. (tr) to oppose the wishes or plans of; thwarthis opponent crosses him at every turn
  10. football to kick or pass (the ball) from a wing to the middle of the field
  11. (tr) nautical to set (the yard of a square sail) athwartships
  12. cross a bridge when one comes to it to deal with matters, problems, etc, as they arise; not to anticipate difficulties
  13. cross one’s fingers to fold one finger across another in the hope of bringing good luckkeep your fingers crossed
  14. cross one’s heart to promise or pledge, esp by making the sign of a cross over one’s heart
  15. cross one’s mind to occur to one briefly or suddenly
  16. cross someone’s palm to give someone money
  17. cross someone’s path to meet or thwart someone
  18. cross swords to argue or fight


  1. angry; ill-humoured; vexed
  2. lying or placed across; transversea cross timber
  3. involving interchange; reciprocal
  4. contrary or unfavourable
  5. another word for crossbred (def. 1)
  6. a Brit slang word for dishonest

“ill-tempered,” 1630s, probably from 16c. sense of “contrary, athwart,” especially with reference to winds and sailing ships, from cross (n.). Cross-purposes “contradictory intentions” is from 1660s.


Old English cros (mid-10c.), from Old Irish cros, probably via Scandinavian, from Latin crux (accusative crucem, genitive crucis) “stake, cross” on which criminals were impaled or hanged, hence, figuratively, “torture, trouble, misery;” originally a tall, round pole; possibly of Phoenician origin. Replaced Old English rood. Also from Latin crux are Italian croce, French croix, Spanish and Portuguese cruz, Dutch kruis, German Kreuz.


c.1200, “make the sign of a cross,” from cross (n.). Sense of “to go across” is from c.1400; that of “to cancel by drawing lines over” is from mid-15c. Related: Crossed; crossing.


  1. A plant or animal produced by crossbreeding; a hybrid.


  1. To crossbreed or cross-fertilize plants or animals.

Change from one field or affiliation to another, as in Graham Greene crossed over from the Anglican to the Roman Catholic Church, or If he doesn’t run I’m going to cross over to the Democratic Party. [First half of 1900s]


Also, cross over to the other side. Die, as in It’s a year since my grandmother crossed over to the other side. [c. 1930]

In addition to the idioms beginning with cross

  • cross a bridge when one comes to it
  • cross as a bear
  • cross my heart and hope to die
  • cross one’s fingers
  • cross one’s mind
  • cross over
  • cross someone’s palm with silver
  • cross someone’s path
  • cross swords
  • cross the Rubicon
  • cross to bear
  • cross up

also see:

  • at cross purposes
  • at the crossroads
  • caught in the middle (cross-fire)
  • dot one’s i’s and cross one’s t’s
  • double cross
  • get one’s wires crossed
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