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Idioms about cross

Origin of cross

First recorded before 1000; Middle English, late Old English cros, from Old Norse kross, from Old Irish cros (from British Celtic ), from Latin crux; see crux

synonym study for cross

49. Cross, ill-natured, peevish, sullen refer to being in a bad mood or ill temper. Cross means temporarily in an irritable or fretful state, and somewhat angry: He gave her a cross reply and walked out of the room. Ill-natured implies a more permanent condition, without definite cause, and means unpleasant, unkind, inclined to snarl or be spiteful: an ill-natured dog; ill-natured spite. Peevish means complaining and snappish: She's acting like a peevish child again. Sullen suggests a kind of glowering silent gloominess and means refusing to speak because of bad humor, anger, or a sense of injury or resentment: I know I haven't called, but why are you suddenly so sullen and vindictive?


cross·a·ble, adjectivecross·a·bil·i·ty, nounre·cross, verbun·cross·a·ble, adjective

Other definitions for cross (2 of 3)

[ kraws, kros ]
/ krɔs, krɒs /

Wilbur Lucius, 1862–1948, U.S. educator: governor of Connecticut 1931–39.

Other definitions for cross (3 of 3)


a combining form of cross, used to indicate an interaction or exchange of two or more things (cross-addicted, cross-cultural, cross-pollination), the extension across a space or the covering of a distance (cross-border, crosscountry), or the passing across or perpendicular intersection with something (crossbar, crosscurrent).
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a basic definition of cross?

Cross as a verb means to begin at one side of something and finish at the opposite side. As an adjective, cross means angry and irritated. As a noun, cross refers to a structure that resembles a lowercase t or any object that has this shape. Cross has a huge number of other senses as a noun, verb, and adjective.

When an object or living thing crosses something else, it physically moves from one side to the other, passes from one side to the other, or extends from one side to the other.

  • Real-life examples: A chicken crosses (walks across) a road. An airplane crosses (passes over) the Atlantic Ocean. A bridge crosses (extends over) a raging river.
  • Used in a sentence: She slowly crossed the rickety bridge. 

As an adjective, cross is used to describe a person who is angry, annoyed, or generally in a bad mood. This sense is often written as “be cross with.”

  • Real-life examples: Teachers get cross when students don’t do their homework. A person waiting in line for hours will most likely become cross. Service people are told not to be cross with rude customers and maintain a sense of calm.
  • Used in a sentence: She was very cross with her brother after he forgot her birthday. 

The noun sense of cross refers to an object made from a horizontal piece and a vertical piece to form a structure that resembles a lowercase t. This object has a huge historical and religious significance, especially among Christians.

A wooden cross was used by the ancient Romans in order to perform a crucifixion, a horrible execution method in which a person was bound or nailed to a cross until they died. Jesus Christ, an extremely important person in Christianity, was famously executed by the Romans by being nailed to a cross.

The cross or “the Cross” (meaning the specific one Jesus died on) is a holy symbol to Christians and a cross shape is often used as the symbol of Christianity. Many Christians have crosses in their homes or on their vehicles or wear one on a necklace.

  • Real-life examples: Most Christian bibles have a cross on the cover. Most Christian churches have a cross (or many crosses) on or inside the building. Many Christian works of art depict crosses or the crucifixion of Jesus on the Cross.
  • Used in a sentence: The priest’s cane had a cross painted on it.

Where does cross come from?

The first records of cross come from before the year 1000. It ultimately comes from the Latin word crux.

In Latin, crux referred specifically to the cross or wooden stake that was used to torture or execute someone. The modern English word crux can refer to a cross but also has figurative meanings.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to cross?

What are some synonyms for cross?

What are some words that share a root or word element with cross

What are some words that often get used in discussing cross?

How is cross used in real life?

Cross is an extremely common word. It often means to move across something, but the many Christian senses of cross are also quite common.

Try using cross!

Is cross used correctly in the following sentence?

The zebras stayed on the near side of the riverbank because the crocodiles made the river too dangerous to cross.

How to use cross in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cross (1 of 4)

/ (krɒs) /


Derived forms of cross

crosser, nouncrossly, adverbcrossness, noun

Word Origin for cross

Old English cros, from Old Irish cross (unattested), from Latin crux; see crux

British Dictionary definitions for cross (2 of 4)

/ (krɒs) /

noun the Cross
the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified
the Crucifixion of Jesus

British Dictionary definitions for cross (3 of 4)

/ (krɒs) /

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

British Dictionary definitions for cross (4 of 4)


combining form
indicating action from one individual, group, etc, to anothercross-cultural; cross-fertilize; cross-refer
indicating movement, position, etc, across something (sometimes implying interference, opposition, or contrary action)crosscurrent; crosstalk
indicating a crosslike figure or intersectioncrossbones

Word Origin for cross-

from cross (in various senses)
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

Scientific definitions for cross

[ krôs ]

A plant or animal produced by crossbreeding; a hybrid.
To crossbreed or cross-fertilize plants or animals.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with cross


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.