Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for double-cross
Historical Examples
  • In all my years and in all my trips over the southwest you are the first westerner to give me the double-cross.

  • 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
  • Well, then, would it be bad to play false with an escaped felon—to double-cross him?

    Tom Slade at Temple Camp Percy K. Fitzhugh
  • "Beasley, he was giving you the double-cross," cut in Bo Rayner's cool voice.

  • Tried to double-cross me, and in the rough-and-tumble that followed he was more or less banged up.

    The Pagan Madonna Harold MacGrath
  • If Lafe thought he could double-cross him in that manner, he had a few things to learn.

    The Sheriff of Badger George B. Pattullo
  • With which short, but sure, wire-pulling Mr. Vandeford opened his campaign to double-cross his own original plans.

    Blue-grass and Broadway Maria Thompson Daviess
  • It didn't seem possible that Bridge could be going to double-cross him.

    The Mucker Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Tried to double-cross me with a friend—but one that counted!

    The Salamander Owen Johnson
  • You threw me down and gave me the double-cross the other day, and now I've come back at you.

    The Price Francis Lynde
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
Cite This Source
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
Cite This Source
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.
Cite This Source
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.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for double-cross

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for double

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for double-cross