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[duhb-uh l-kraws, -kros] /ˈdʌb əlˈkrɔs, -ˈkrɒs/
verb (used with object), Informal.
to prove treacherous to; betray or swindle, as by a double cross.
Origin of double-cross
First recorded in 1900-05
Related forms
double-crosser, noun

double cross

a betrayal or swindle of a colleague.
an attempt to win a contest that one has agreed beforehand to lose.
Compare cross (def 21).
Genetics. a cross in which both parents are first-generation hybrids from single crosses, thus involving four inbred lines.
First recorded in 1825-35 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for double-cross
Historical Examples
  • I might have had sense enough to see he'd take the first chance to hand me the double-cross.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • The only one who didn't give me the double-cross out and out.

    Garrison's Finish W. B. M. Ferguson
  • He wouldn't "double-cross" the "Gink" or anyone else for money, see?

    Spring Street James H. Richardson
  • I should have been forced to double-cross my boss, and I'd have hated it.

    Mary Louise and Josie O'Gorman

    Emma Speed Sampson
  • The islander had tried twice to-night to give him the double-cross.

    El Diablo Brayton Norton
  • Cookie was a willing rascal and a natural adept at the double-cross.

    Rimrock Trail J. Allan Dunn
  • Instead, he got the double-cross after he had sent his ultimatum to England.

    An African Adventure Isaac F. Marcosson
  • But it isn't really wise to double-cross your friend and partner.

    Find the Woman

    Arthur Somers Roche
  • Well, she tried to double-cross me and that dont pay, Denby.

    Under Cover Roi Cooper Megrue
  • "Beasley, he was giving you the double-cross," cut in Bo Rayner's cool voice.

British Dictionary definitions for double-cross


(transitive) to cheat or betray
the act or an instance of double-crossing; betrayal
Derived Forms
double-crosser, noun

double cross

a technique for producing hybrid stock, esp seed for cereal crops, by crossing the hybrids between two different pairs of inbred lines
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for double-cross

1834, from double (adj.) + cross (n.) in the sense of "pre-arranged swindle or fix." Originally to win a race after promising to lose it. As a verb from 1903, American English. Related: Double-crossed; double-crossing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for double-cross

double cross

noun phrase

A betrayal or cheating of one's own colleagues; an act of treachery, often in an illicit transaction: The two suspected dealers were planning a double-cross


: I would never double-cross a pal

Related Terms

give someone the double cross

[1834+; fr the reneging on an agreement to lose, a cross, by actually winning]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with double-cross

double cross

A deliberate betrayal; violation of a promise or obligation, as in They had planned a double cross, intending to keep all of the money for themselves. This usage broadens the term's earlier sense in sports gambling, where it alluded to the duplicity of a contestant who breaks his word after illicitly promising to lose. Both usages gave rise to the verb double-cross. [ Late 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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