[ kraws-pur-puh s, kros- ]
/ ˈkrɔsˈpɜr pəs, ˈkrɒs- /


an opposing or contrary purpose.


    at cross-purposes, in a way that involves or produces mutual misunderstanding or frustration, usually unintentionally.

Origin of cross-purpose

First recorded in 1660–70 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cross-purpose

  • If we find every fact of life at cross-purpose with Scripture, what then?

    The Call of the Town|John Alexander Hammerton
  • It seems someway unlike God to make each person a something all of cross-purpose.

    I, Mary MacLane|Mary MacLane
  • I am not prone on my green couch, frayed, frazzled, bowed-down in spirit from a day of frightful stress and cross-purpose.

    I, Mary MacLane|Mary MacLane

British Dictionary definitions for cross-purpose



a contrary aim or purpose
at cross-purposes conflicting; opposed; disagreeing

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