Definition of criss-cross in English:



  • A pattern of intersecting straight lines or paths.

    ‘the blotting paper was marked with a criss-cross of different inks’
    • ‘It is a rich pastiche of a reading, marked by a criss-cross of impulses and purposes that we routinely experience as we read student writing, and the comments do a fairly good job of expressing the teacher's concerns to the student.’
    • ‘His canvases are a criss-cross of human forms entangled in webs of life.’
    • ‘It's not just six or seven holes out, a couple of criss-crosses, and then nine home the other way.’
    • ‘The spot that he had picked was almost perfect as well, exactly angled to the limo, and then the criss-cross of streets to the highway, allowing him every possible angle to make the mission a success.’
    • ‘His chest was a criss-cross of scars and bruising.’
    • ‘Top with a criss-cross of crisp pancetta and a poached egg.’
    • ‘The tropical grass made criss-crosses on our legs as we sat.’
    • ‘Maybe the criss-crosses of what I guess to be caramelised salsify were there to stop them bleeding into one another; if so, they didn't.’
    • ‘Without warning the entire room became a deadly criss-cross of weapons fire and blinding torchlight.’
    • ‘Through a series of about 30 maneuvers, the Snowbirds perform a multitude of loops, spins, criss-crosses and bursts that make formation flying appear easy.’
    • ‘We didn't get any time to test out the criss-cross of wires.’
    • ‘With criss-crosses stitched in the middle, like cartoon drunk eyes.’
    • ‘It was a dark green, an edgy criss-cross, vertically going over his left eye.’
    • ‘It would be a criss-cross of killings with no apparent motive, and no leads for investigators working on either case.’
    • ‘The caseta was on the far side of the family yard, and usually screened from the main house (a slightly bigger shack) by folds and folds of laundry, drying on a criss-cross of lines in the open air.’
    • ‘He brought her in close to his side, hands entwined behind them in a criss-cross, moving quickly in a circle.’
    • ‘No doubt some of these were assigned to protect Air Force One, which carried the president on a long criss-cross from Orlando to Louisiana to Nebraska and back to Washington before that long day was over.’
    • ‘He had tiny, spindly arms, but ones deeply etched with the criss-cross of muscles held only slightly in check just below the taut canvass of his skin.’
    • ‘I only bought this book because I liked the cover - its purple with black criss-crosses.’
    • ‘The process goes on for several weeks, culminating in an amazing criss-cross of beautiful strands of light.’
    grid, latticework, fretwork, open framework, openwork, trellis, trelliswork, network, mesh, web, webbing, netting, net, tracery, interlacing, reticulation, reticulum, grate, grating, grille, grillwork, matrix
    View synonyms


  • Containing a number of straight lines or paths which intersect each other.

    ‘the streets ran in a regular criss-cross pattern’
    as adverb ‘the swords were strung criss-cross on his back’
    • ‘The lightly seasoned pilots would take off from the station's criss-cross runways.’
    • ‘A criss-cross pattern of scars intermingled across his chest.’
    • ‘Tie the fishing line to the stakes in a criss-cross pattern.’
    • ‘He was wearing blue denim jeans, a white shirt with blue stripes in a criss-cross pattern.’
    • ‘Trim the duck breasts by removing excess membrane from the inside and scoring the fat side in criss-cross fashion.’
    • ‘Stretch jeans with criss-cross stitching, coupled with a chocolate brown jacket are just some of the items to be found in the store.’
    • ‘Here's the lawn today, with it's stunning criss-cross pattern.’
    • ‘Flatten lightly with fork to make criss-cross pattern.’
    • ‘When I walk down Buchanan Street, I adopt a criss-cross pattern to avoid the clipboard people.’
    • ‘It had a criss-cross back, and looked very pretty on her.’
    • ‘Be bold and score the meat deeply in a wide criss-cross pattern using a sharp knife.’
    • ‘A-list items include boned corsets made out of bronze PVC with black criss-cross lacing, and black velvet hooded opera capes with brocade closures.’
    • ‘Suede in cognac or blonde adds the look of luxury to a blazer or skirt, and is the leather of choice for accessories or detailing, such as criss-cross lacing on blouses.’
    • ‘Sunlight poured in through the curtains in the window and made criss-cross patterns on the wall.’
    • ‘It had criss-cross straps about half way down the front, but underneath was deep purple material, put there to keep her modesty.’
    • ‘Signature details included intricate criss-cross fabric weaving, long lines and flowing fringe-like ties.’
    • ‘She shook her head, making wide criss-cross motions with her arms.’
    • ‘This I made myself, and it is ornately decorated with criss-cross patterns and reinforced around the ends with extra duct tape so that the guitar does not break off of the strap.’
    • ‘Halve the aubergine and slash the flesh in a criss-cross pattern.’
    • ‘Two stents were inflated simultaneously across the stenoses in criss-cross arrangement (top right).’


  • 1Form a pattern of intersecting lines or paths on (a place)

    ‘the green hill was criss-crossed with a network of sheep tracks’
    no object ‘the smaller streets criss-crossed in a grid pattern’
    • ‘They were concerned that damage was being caused to several green lanes which criss-cross the park's area.’
    • ‘By the end of the 19th century, the world was criss-crossed by telegraph lines, including numerous cables beneath the Atlantic Ocean.’
    • ‘Lines criss-crossed the street from the first floors.’
    • ‘Half a dozen tree lined boulevards criss-cross the city with French elegance and the streets through the middle heave with traffic of all kinds.’
    • ‘Rhododendrons line some of the many paths that criss-cross the park.’
    • ‘The long term goal is to build monorail lines criss-crossing the city, creating a true transportation alternative for Seattle residents.’
    • ‘Lines and marks criss-cross them, enlivening the surface.’
    • ‘When 19th century astronomers looked at Mars, many saw lines criss-crossing the planet.’
    • ‘Our only feeling on that is that there are proven psycho-magnetic ley lines which criss-cross the country, and it is suggested that ghosts can use these as we use roads.’
    • ‘While the 460 ft-high turbines will not infringe on the peatlands, there is concern that an extensive 104-mile road network criss-crossing the landscape will cause irreparable damage.’
    • ‘The cause of all our ills are underground Geopathic stress lines which criss-cross our homes and if they just happen to overlap under the spot where we place our beds or the armchair where we spend most of our time, then we are in big trouble.’
    • ‘All told, 39 million miles of fibre-optic line now criss-cross the US, enough to circle the globe 1566 times.’
    • ‘A craggy hill, criss-crossed by the sheep paths of centuries, forms the city's backcloth.’
    • ‘A tall hedge lined an even taller wall of stone that enclosed the square garden, and a grid of paths criss-crossed squares of rose plants and hedges.’
    • ‘The conversation Greene had overheard was actually about the legitimate police squads who patrolled the miles of sewers criss-crossing the city, to prevent people travelling between the various sectors without authority.’
    • ‘The tops of the legs are headed by weird lions' masks making a meal of acanthus leaves and the background is criss-crossed with a diaper pattern.’
    • ‘The ‘rhumb’ lines that criss-cross the map are designed to aid compass bearings, allowing navigators to sail reasonably accurate courses.’
    • ‘Much of the undergrowth is dense and difficult to penetrate, but the possibility of following free-roaming flocks is still relatively good, because walking paths criss-cross the area.’
    • ‘The world is criss-crossed by a thick network of links, but this is only one part of reality.’
    • ‘Six major canals ran through the metropolis, with many smaller ones criss-crossing the entire city, making it possible to travel virtually anywhere by boat.’
    1. 1.1 Move or travel around (a place) by going back and forth repeatedly.
      ‘the President criss-crossed America’
      • ‘Mr Baxter has travelled thousands of miles criss-crossing the constituency.’
      • ‘The chief executive officer has spent much of the past decade criss-crossing the globe pushing the group's food ingredients business, which now accounts for over 70% of profits.’
      • ‘After a spell in America, they moved to Edinburgh, but were soon criss-crossing the Highlands in search of the perfect home.’
      • ‘Both men are crisscrossing battleground states they've crisscrossed countless times already.’
      • ‘It is not about eliminating all trade, but rather about reducing to an absolute minimum the exorbitant waste now caused by having everything from butter to raw logs criss-crossing back and forth across the globe.’
      • ‘He set out to visit every one of them and he did just that repeatedly, criss-crossing the state like a country singer on tour.’
      • ‘In between is a hectic travel schedule that will see him criss-cross the continent, including upcoming trips to Alabama and Florida for competitions.’
      • ‘An estimated 10,000 working girls will be on the move, criss-crossing the country to follow the fans - and the money - around.’
      • ‘Although his home is currently in Bridge of Weir, most of his time is spent criss-crossing the globe to oversee the Business Network Division's operations.’
      • ‘Each week the candidate criss-crosses the country, although his travels are limited by a finite number of stamina points.’
      • ‘The centre was involved again for his team's third when a sweeping move which started in the Naas twenty two criss-crossed the pitch and finished in the hands of Barry Walsh, who barged into the try area.’
      • ‘And hence he would have been unable to appear in any public debate, because he would have been crisscrossing the country.’
      • ‘Now, Governor Davis, for his part, he is crisscrossing the state by plane.’
      • ‘Having crisscrossed the street several times to visit various shops we emerged with our last purchases.’
      • ‘We traveled daily by the new 727 jet aircraft criss-crossing a country the size of the U.S.’
      • ‘And so he kept on the move, criss-crossing a large region of gently rolling Cheshire countryside.’
      • ‘Sergeants were crisscrossing southern California, tracking down witnesses to interview for clearly bogus complaints.’
      • ‘Hither and whither I go, criss-crossing Verona's alleys and streets.’
      • ‘‘They were criss-crossing the county to deliver the news.’
      • ‘The continent's leaders have been crisscrossing the region trying to cool things off.’


Early 17th century (denoting a figure of a cross preceding the alphabet in a hornbook): from Christ-cross (in the same sense in late Middle English), from Christ's cross. The form was later treated as a reduplication of cross.