a movement of the hand to indicate a cross, as from forehead to breast and left shoulder to right or, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, from right shoulder to left.
Origin of sign of the cross
Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for sign of the cross
mainly RC Church a gesture in which the right hand is moved from the forehead to the breast and from the left shoulder to the right to describe the form of a cross in order to invoke the grace of Christ
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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sign of the cross in Culture
A ritual gesture common in the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, and Anglican Communion, made at the beginning and end of prayer as a reminder of Jesus' death on the cross. Worshipers make the sign by touching first the forehead, then the breast, and then each shoulder in turn, thus tracing in the air the shape of a cross.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
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