Definition of across in English:


preposition & adverb

  • 1From one side to the other of (a place, area, etc.):

    [as preposition] ‘I ran across the street’
    ‘travelling across Europe’
    [as adverb] ‘he had swum across’
    • ‘American troops spread out across the area yesterday to investigate what had happened and question witnesses.’
    • ‘Like a little boy being led across a busy street by his mother, we will guide you.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, when we reached half way across the bridge a middle-aged man was speeding up behind us.’
    • ‘With easterly winds often travelling across the industrial areas of Europe, the visibility can be quite poor.’
    • ‘Pieces of the aircraft were strewn across a vast area.’
    • ‘The boy shrugged and walked across it to the side with the handle.’
    • ‘She didn't even try to swim, but the waves of the lake carried her across to the other side.’
    • ‘When he returned an intelligent ball back across the six-yard area, Thompson slid in to bundle it over the line.’
    • ‘A lot of glass flew across the classroom and some of the children were quite alarmed.’
    • ‘Police believe that as she was driving out of the forecourt, she failed to negotiate the bend and drove across the grass area.’
    • ‘So as not to spoil it I've hidden the text as white though, so if you want to see it you need to drag your mouse across the blank looking area below.’
    • ‘Ramblers celebrated the launch of new right to roam laws by taking a stroll across former no-go areas all over the north west.’
    • ‘Leading me back across the hall he turns to roar approval as his PR man taps some panelling to prove that it is not real marble.’
    • ‘His shot across the penalty area after good work by Neal Ardley lacked the power to trouble Paddy Kenny.’
    • ‘The two got together, and when Jim returned to the Bolton area, Maureen moved across the Pennines to join him.’
    • ‘Eight minutes later, he hit a neat pass across the penalty area before Todorov slipped the ball past Friedel.’
    • ‘To travel across to the other side of the world with a woman I love, to meet up with a man I love?’
    • ‘Then in injury time, Miller's searching header back across a crowded area wreaked momentary havoc.’
    • ‘Two young boys were playing football indiscriminately across the area with a plastic bottle.’
    • ‘A conventional bomb could then be used to spread radioactive particles across a densely populated area.’
    to the other side of, from one side of ... to the other, over, throughout the expanse of, throughout the width of, covering, everywhere on, on all parts of
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    1. 1.1[as adverb] Used with an expression of measurement:
      ‘mounds some 30 metres across’
      • ‘But those pincers could grow three or four times as big, on the end of arms five feet long, and bodies nine feet across.’
      • ‘The hole was about eighteen feet across and lay just over the rim of a low hill that rose in a long gentle slope from the side of our farm.’
      • ‘In fact, there was so much food that special tables were made for the occasion, about two metres across.’
      • ‘Think of us as a bullseye the size of a quarter in the middle of a target 11 feet across.’
      • ‘At about three feet in height and two feet across, it fits into the garden almost anywhere.’
      • ‘The other is lighter in colour, oval, about two feet across and has two indentations ground into its centre.’
      • ‘Could a bird that is said to be 20 metres across be able to escape detection for so long?’
      • ‘The arrays will hold four dishes measuring approximately seven feet across.’
      • ‘Young men in white shirts and red sashes grasped each other round the shoulders to form a ring fifteen feet across.’
      • ‘Mr Mitchell said it was the ideal place to hold his first exhibition, which features paintings up to ten feet across.’
      • ‘Once in a while, the funnel of air drops from the sky - it can be as narrow as a few metres across or as wide as two kilometres.’
      • ‘It measured 670 feet across and depicted a chain of crescents around a central circle.’
      • ‘It was about fifteen feet high, and fifteen feet across, in the shape of a huge block.’
      • ‘There was a gouge three foot across where the anchor had been winched up, ripping corals out with it.’
      • ‘In my memory the selected shell was about a foot across and 6 inches deep, the oyster inside a monster of the deep.’
      • ‘A high resolution camera will also sweep the surface, resolving details as small as two metres across.’
      • ‘They were standing inside a large circle, probably measuring about one hundred feet across.’
      • ‘The set was dominated by a grid of windmills, each a metre across.’
      • ‘Douglas designed two reflection pools, about half a metre across and made of slate.’
      • ‘He proposes to build a stone cairn six or seven feet high and 12 to 14 feet across, either inside the fold or next to it.’
  • 2Expressing position or orientation:

    [as preposition] ‘they lived across the street from one another’
    ‘the bridge across the river’
    [as adverb] ‘he looked across at me’
    ‘halfway across, Jenny jumped’
    • ‘The main attraction is the Storms River and the suspension bridge that stretches across its mouth.’
    • ‘In this way it hopes to boost living standards across a broad swathe of poor rural society.’
    • ‘He could feel Tyna lift her head up from her awkward position across her shoulder.’
    • ‘Scot runs an athletics club whose members train on the school's playing field for junior school pupils from across the area.’
    • ‘Coun Powell said people living across the river from the gypsy camp had complained of being kept awake by noise from generators.’
    • ‘This led to flooding across many areas of agricultural land, leaving potato crops in ruin.’
    • ‘He had a gold earring in his right ear, and a tiny scar across the bridge of his nose.’
    • ‘I am not a celeb but as luck would have it, I have friends living across a wide geographical stretch.’
    • ‘Dozens more were at risk of collapsing as heavy rains continued across the area, authorities said.’
    • ‘He said the Flower Bridge should be built across a narrow stretch of water that was not so busy with river traffic.’
    • ‘For more than 20 years the estate - and many like it across the area - was neglected.’
    • ‘A new pedestrian bridge across the Cross river has just been completed by Mayo County Council.’
    • ‘Mr Howard has effectively written off the party's chances of winning seats in urban areas across the north of England.’
    • ‘Business, community groups and individuals across the area took part in last month's Macmillan event.’
    • ‘In many ways the local authority has its hands tied and is in the same unenviable position as councils across the country.’
    • ‘Out of the corner of my eye I can see CCTV's main camera lock on to my position from across the road.’
    • ‘Figures released this week provide an average house price across all of this area of £98,000.’
    • ‘It justifies a larger space and needs some benevolent soul to offer a venue and find the time to liaise with art teachers across the area.’
    • ‘To the east the magnificent new bridge stretches across the Oresund Sea to Malmo in Sweden.’
    • ‘Attacks on buses are being logged, and police are involved in operations across the area aimed at clamping down on the thugs.’
    on the other side of, over, beyond, past
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  • 3[as adverb] Referring to a crossword answer which reads horizontally:

    ‘19 across’
    • ‘(1 across) The perfect source of digital interactive television.’


Middle English (as an adverb meaning ‘in the form of a cross’): from Old French a croix, en croix in or on a cross, later regarded as being from a- + cross.