[ kraws-ig-zam-in, kros- ]

verb (used with object),cross-ex·am·ined, cross-ex·am·in·ing.
  1. to examine by questions intended to check a previous examination; examine closely or minutely.

  2. Law. to examine (a witness called by the opposing side), as for the purpose of discrediting the witness's testimony.

Origin of cross-examine

First recorded in 1655–65

Other words from cross-examine

  • cross-ex·am·i·na·tion, noun
  • cross-ex·am·in·er, noun
  • un·cross-ex·am·ined, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cross-examine in a sentence

  • Proceeding in his cross examination, the counsel asked where the affray happened?

  • Both of us were sorely put to it under Doria's indignant and suspicious cross-examination.

    Jaffery | William J. Locke
  • In fact, he subjected me to a long sort of cross-examination respecting our friend Leonard here.

  • "I rather think not," said the Knight, who was by no means sorry to turn Mr. Dempsey from cross-examination into mere narrative.

  • Mr. Baker desired to make no cross-examination, and James's wife was called, and testified in her quaint way to the same effect.

    By The Sea | Heman White Chaplin

British Dictionary definitions for cross-examine


  1. law to examine (a witness for the opposing side), as in attempting to discredit his testimony: Compare examine-in-chief

  2. to examine closely or relentlessly

Derived forms of cross-examine

  • cross-examination, noun
  • cross-examiner, noun

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