[kraws-sek-shuh n, kros-]


Also cross-sec·tion·al. of or relating to a cross section.

verb (used with object)

to make or divide into a cross section.

Origin of cross-section

First recorded in 1875–80

cross section


a section made by a plane cutting anything transversely, especially at right angles to the longest axis.
a piece so cut off.
a photograph, diagram, or other pictorial representation of such a section.
the act of cutting anything across.
a typical selection; a sample showing all characteristic parts, relationships, etc.: a cross section of American opinion.
Surveying. a vertical section of the ground surface taken at right angles to a survey line.
Also called nuclear cross section. Physics. a quantity expressing the effective area that a given nucleus presents as a target to a bombarding particle, giving a measure of the probability that the particle will induce a reaction.

Origin of cross section

First recorded in 1825–35 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cross-section

Contemporary Examples of cross-section

Historical Examples of cross-section

  • I saw 'em fur years, with a big cuttin' out to show the cross-section.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Note the shape of the cross-section of the hull at the different sections.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats

    Raymond Francis Yates

  • A cross-section diagram from the outer ear to the lobes of the brain.

    A Handbook of Health

    Woods Hutchinson

  • A' is the edge view, B' is the side view and C' is a cross-section.

    Handwork in Wood

    William Noyes

  • Figure 154 shows a sketch of the cross-section of the floor and girders.

    Concrete Construction

    Halbert P. Gillette

British Dictionary definitions for cross-section

cross section


maths a plane surface formed by cutting across a solid, esp perpendicular to its longest axis
a section cut off in this way
the act of cutting anything in this way
a random selection or sample, esp one regarded as representativea cross section of the public
surveying a vertical section of a line of ground at right angles to a survey line
physics a measure of the probability that a collision process will result in a particular reaction. It is expressed by the effective area that one participant presents as a target for the other
Derived Formscross-sectional, adjective
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

Word Origin and History for cross-section

also cross section, 1748, originally in engineering sketches, from cross (adj.) + section (n.). Figurative sense of "representative sample" is from 1903.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cross-section in Science

cross section

In particle physics, an expression of the probability of the occurrence of an event, typically the scattering of subatomic particles, over a given area.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.