Definition of cross in English:



  • 1A mark, object, or figure formed by two short intersecting lines or pieces (+ or ×)

    ‘place a cross against the preferred choice’
    • ‘Knead it well then shape it into a ball, cut a cross into the centre, place in a bowl and cover.’
    • ‘The ancient Egyptians had the cross as a religious symbol of their Gods.’
    • ‘The small cross indicates the position of the Earth when at perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) in early January.’
    • ‘She cut an improvised cross from the head of a cork and dampened the ash by adding water.’
    • ‘The cross represents the masculine side of his face, the nought represents the feminine side.’
    • ‘They will not meekly give up their power simply because of a few million crosses on pieces of paper.’
    • ‘The center of the cross indicates the position of the breakpoints with moderate precision.’
    • ‘Initially voters were required to mark as many crosses as there were vacancies and the candidates with greatest support, usually from the same party, were elected.’
    • ‘It was a map of Hillcrest, marked with numerous crosses.’
    • ‘How can they ever expect conditions to change when a short trip to a polling station to mark a cross on a voting paper might make all the difference, but is too much for them?’
    • ‘Watch any low budget pre-election television show, lay back and listen while the terminally dumb mumble their excuses for not being able to put a cross on a piece of paper and pop it into a battered tin box.’
    • ‘If George W Bush had enjoyed the right to vote in this country two weeks ago he would have thought twice about putting his cross against any candidate representing the Conservative Party.’
    • ‘All I did was put pencil crosses on pieces of paper and put them in a ballot box.’
    • ‘Cut a small cross in the top of each pie, insert a sprig of thyme and lightly brush with milk.’
    • ‘With the pointed end of a potato peeler or a small, sharp knife, cut out the core of the tomatoes and lightly mark a cross on their undersides.’
    • ‘When giving a guest the map of Mantua, why not indicate with a cross where the restaurant you've booked for him is located?’
    • ‘Torvald checks his letter box and finds some letters and two Business cards from Dr. Rank with black crosses on them.’
    • ‘Opponents have halted plans for voters in York's next local elections to place their crosses by post.’
    • ‘Trapping was carried out in the reedbed with 147 m of mist nets arranged in two lines forming a cross.’
    • ‘It is understood that a street map of Brussels with a number of places marked with crosses - including a street near the embassy - was found on him.’
    • ‘The yellow outline and magenta cross mark the best guess of the RADAR team at the location of the Huygens DISR images.’
    1. 1.1A cross (×) used to show that something is incorrect or unsatisfactory.
      ‘the class sat quiet, waiting anxiously for the verdict—a tick or a large cross’
      • ‘Put a cross against the wrong answer.’
      • ‘And there's ticks and crosses to indicate everyone's preferences.’
      • ‘Use a green tick if the best option was chosen, a yellow tick for a partially correct answer, and a red cross for a totally wrong answer.’
    2. 1.2A cross-shaped decoration awarded for personal valour or indicating rank in some orders of knighthood.
      ‘the Military Cross’
      • ‘Dempsey served on the Western Front and was awarded the Military Cross for bravery.’
      • ‘Since that time there have been a total of 1,354 crosses awarded.’
      • ‘He failed to rise in rank beyond corporal, but was awarded the Iron Cross for military bravery.’
      • ‘During his career, he was awarded the Iron Cross by the German army for bravery.’
      • ‘Myles proved to be a valiant soldier and was awarded two Papal emblems, a medal and a cross at the end of the war.’
      • ‘Seven among them were awarded St. George's crosses, the highest and most coveted military order in czarist Russia.’
    3. 1.3The constellation Crux.
      Also called Southern Cross
  • 2An upright post with a transverse bar, as used in antiquity for crucifixion.

    • ‘They replaced a decaying wooden Celtic cross that was in a dangerous and hazardous state.’
    • ‘This runs counter to the Synoptic story which has the soldiers compelling Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross to Golgotha.’
    • ‘May that which is unholy within me be nailed to the sacrificial cross of crucifixion and may that which pleases you be raised in the holy and blessed hope of the ressurection.’
    • ‘He has also carried a cross that was 4m long and 2m wide for thousands of kilometres around Australia.’
    • ‘He is shown as a man who was reluctant to carry the cross, forced by the Romans to do so.’
    • ‘His duties even called on him to be the first person to try out the cross for the Crucifixion scene.’
    • ‘It was a deep black and similar to a Christian cross, except that the top half of the cross had been intersected thrice more, each line smaller than the last.’
    • ‘Before the cross became a Christian symbol, it already symbolized torture in the Roman Empire.’
    • ‘On that occasion an oak cross, on which a neighbour of Raonaid had inscribed her favourite poem, was marked with a knife.’
    crucifix, rood
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1The cross on which Christ was crucified.
      ‘the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross’
      • ‘The cross of Jesus Christ reveals that the very heart of God is mercy and forgiveness.’
      • ‘Just when we figure out the cross and empty tomb, something happens to remind us that Jesus' death and resurrection are a mystery.’
      • ‘An eternal transaction was taking place as Jesus was dying on the Cross.’
      • ‘The Cross of Christ is the centre of God's entire plan of redemption.’
      • ‘The foundation of the Church is always the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.’
      • ‘Your old sinful life was put to death on the Cross with Jesus, and buried with him in the grave.’
      • ‘The lintel shows Jesus carrying the cross on the way to Calvary.’
      • ‘It is because the dogwood was used for the Cross, it is said, that it has not grown straight, or to a large size ever since.’
      • ‘Everything you have ever done wrong was placed on Jesus as He hung upon the Cross.’
      • ‘The cross of Christ, theologically speaking, was not an end in itself.’
      • ‘He used his own pain, following the example of Christ on the cross, to share with compassion the pain of others.’
      • ‘Christ encountered her at the very entrance of the church, all bloody and nailed to the Cross.’
      • ‘At least twenty people have offered to sell me a piece of the true cross.’
      • ‘This was an expression of all the sins of the world put into one cup and poured out on Christ while He was on the Cross.’
      • ‘He could have saved himself, but he did not for it was through his death on the Cross that God was going to save the world.’
      • ‘That's why, with time, they started to represent the Christ with a beard and later, they represented him on the cross.’
      • ‘These include a fragmented image of the crucifixion with parts of Christ's body in pieces around the cross.’
      • ‘I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to cleanse me from sin.’
      • ‘As opposed to the resurrection, the cross symbolises crucifixion.’
      • ‘As Jesus hung upon the Cross, He hung there as the representative Man - the last of the Adamic race.’
    2. 2.2A cross as an emblem of Christianity.
      ‘she wore a cross around her neck’
      • ‘Meanwhile, through an open doorway, the reader can see hundreds of crosses lining the general's backyard in neat rows.’
      • ‘A bible hung from his belt, and he wore a cross around his neck.’
      • ‘He said this cross was built in the 1950s to mark a holy year.’
      • ‘The cross as a symbol of Christianity is everywhere.’
      • ‘Though our foreheads are marked with a black, ashen cross, Matthew warns us to practice our piety in secret.’
      • ‘Like many of the troops I met during the war, she wore a cross around her neck.’
      • ‘To the early Christians and Byzantines, it was called the gammadion cross, and it figured prominently in their artwork.’
      • ‘One way she does this is by stripping down, multiplying, and opening up the central symbol of Christianity, the cross.’
      • ‘The life-size crosses and figures of saints were one of the great forms of benefaction in the eleventh century and are described in churches across England.’
      • ‘Lulu wears a tiny gold cross around her neck.’
      • ‘Dozens of people turned up on Otley Chevin at the weekend to help pull the Easter Cross into place.’
      • ‘In England, hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday; they are marked on top with a cross, either cut in the dough or composed of strips of pastry.’
      • ‘Above them a cluster of crosses mark graves and beyond them a few people cross onto a ship.’
      • ‘A special prayer around the Cross for young people takes place for the Lenten Season.’
      • ‘Noting my covetousness, a native woman lifted her cross off her neck and placed it around mine.’
      • ‘She was no longer biting her fingernail, but fidgeting with the gold cross on a chain around her neck.’
      • ‘He buried them out back, behind the small cabin, forming two wooden crosses out of pieces of wood, spliced together with strips of rawhide.’
      • ‘It is proposed to build, plaster and cap a perimeter wall and erect a Cross on completion of the work.’
      • ‘This day provides an opportunity to acknowledge grief and sorrow, and to teach why Christians use a cross as a symbol.’
      • ‘A lot of Christians wear crosses around their necks.’
    3. 2.3
      short for sign of the cross (see sign)
      • ‘She bowed her head and made a cross over her chest in reverence of the departed woman.’
      • ‘His hand touched his forehead, then tapped the front of his black suit three more times to form a cross.’
      • ‘He muttered what sounded like a prayer and made a cross on himself.’
      • ‘Then he stands straight and with his left hand holding out his staff towards us, makes a cross in the air, speaking the ritual he has been taught for occasions such as this’
    4. 2.4A staff surmounted by a cross carried in religious processions and on ceremonial occasions before an archbishop.
      • ‘They then carried a cross through the streets to the Methodist Church for a united act of worship led by the Rev Mary Teed.’
      • ‘On the following day the cross will be carried by the youth of the area to the Cathedral.’
      • ‘Only one of the items shown, the painted processional cross mentioned earlier, was loaned by another museum.’
      • ‘Leading the procession and holding the cross aloft were Mrs. Anne Enright from the western side and Patrick Egan from Tarmons side.’
      • ‘He was extremely poor, illiterate and kept himself to himself, but liked attending church processions and carrying the cross or the pictures of Saints.’
      • ‘With his left hand he supports over his left shoulder a staff topped by a cross, and holds an open scroll with an inscription written in black in Greek capitals.’
      • ‘Then the Vicar-General and some of the Franciscan fathers came ashore carrying two crosses in procession and singing the Te Deum.’
      • ‘The two illustrated here are probably St Barbara with the tower and martyr's palm, and an unidentified bishop-saint carrying the Greek Orthodox cross.’
    5. 2.5Something unavoidable that has to be endured.
      ‘she's just a cross we have to bear’
      • ‘If that was what it took, I had to accept it and carry the cross.’
      • ‘Many crosses he was to carry before his passing to his eternal reward at the age of 90 years.’
      • ‘She trusted him, of course, but it was her secret, her burden, her cross to bear.’
      • ‘But no sane person can tell me that a mother deserves to be made carry the cross that Mrs. McGinley now carries.’
      • ‘You had many a cross to carry but you carried on and helped me to carry my cross so many times.’
      • ‘I pray they can carry their particular cross as we all carry ours.’
      • ‘He also died suddenly at a young age in 1987, and this was a big cross for Aggie to carry at the time.’
      • ‘This feeling coupled with the feeling of guilt that they are in some way or fashion responsible for their charge's condition is indeed a difficult cross to bear.’
      • ‘She always had a bright outlook on life even up to the end and carried bravely any crosses sent her way, including the death of her daughter, Ann in 1998.’
      • ‘We therefore call upon all troublesome nurses to quit being callow in our hospitals, carry the cross and emulate Nightingale, the mother of nursing.’
      • ‘All the suffering they endured they accepted as their way of carrying the cross.’
      • ‘Like all of us he too carried crosses - he found it very hard to accept the long illness of his father Murty whom he found difficult to even visit at times.’
      • ‘She said he had carried his cross in silence and with dignity and they had helped each other along the way.’
      • ‘The lone researcher bears a large emotional burden, and there is simply no denying that this is a cross many PhD students will have to carry.’
      • ‘David's mother carried thoughts of Michael around like a cross.’
      • ‘He may well be left to carry the cross he so recklessly laid on the shoulders of others.’
      • ‘Who are those who are willing to carry their cross and die daily?’
      • ‘Sincere faith and fortitude in the will of God gave him the strength to carry his cross.’
      • ‘It was during their short time in Shrule prior to moving to Cong that they suffered a great cross with the sudden death of their only child, Ann Marie, at the age of two years.’
      • ‘No human should have to endure the cross of suffering.’
      burden, trouble, worry, trial, tribulation, affliction, curse, bane, hardship
      View synonyms
  • 3An animal or plant resulting from cross-breeding; a hybrid.

    ‘a Galloway and shorthorn cross’
    • ‘Hybrids such as the mule, a cross between a donkey and a horse, are sterile.’
    • ‘These bitsy buds are a cross between broccoli and gai lan.’
    • ‘The farm's herd is a cross between the indigenous Wagyu and another quality export from Scotland, the Aberdeen Angus.’
    • ‘Hybrids are more difficult to spot because they are a cross between the native and Spanish varieties, and the colours vary in shades’
    • ‘Most hybrid striped bass that consumers purchase are a cross between female white bass and male striped bass.’
    • ‘Grandifloras are a cross between hybrid teas and floribundas.’
    • ‘He said animals had to be 16 hands 3ins minimum and a cross between a heavy working breed and a thoroughbred.’
    • ‘A genetic map constructed using a cross between the two M. grisea strains used in this study revealed a high degree of synteny between the two genomes.’
    • ‘The first step is to make a cross between two parent plants.’
    • ‘We assume that the parents that initiate the cross are pure inbred lines.’
    • ‘That clone was created from a cross between two strains from North and South Germany that were distinct from the clones we analyzed here.’
    • ‘Draft animals, especially the ubiquitous dzo, a cross between a yak and a cow, play a central part in the farming economy.’
    hybrid, hybridization, cross-breed, mixed breed, half-breed, half blood, mixture, amalgam, blend, combination, composite, conglomerate
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1A mixture or compromise of two things.
      ‘the system is a cross between a monorail and a conventional railway’
      • ‘That place was like a cross between hell and jail.’
      • ‘It's a brilliant cross between stealth, puzzle and platform genres that you really have to play to believe.’
      • ‘With their five-wheel frame and their medium-height buckle cuff, they are a cross between a racing skate and recreational one.’
      • ‘He was an imposing figure, a cross between Humpty Dumpty and a brigadier, who had rowed hard in his youth.’
      • ‘His face was growing old quickly, his hair a cross between gray and brown.’
      • ‘In many respects, this form of analysis represents a cross between a psychological profile and stereotyping.’
      • ‘Orchestral life, at its best, is a cross between summer camp and labour camp.’
      • ‘It's a cross between rap and line dancing if you can categorise it at all.’
      • ‘The movie becomes a cross between a serious life drama and a quirky romantic comedy.’
      • ‘It is a cross between a corporation and a partnership.’
      • ‘Weblogs, or blogs for short, are a cross between a diary, a web site, and an online community.’
      • ‘The jail was a cross between a political headquarters and an industrial plant.’
      • ‘Clearly, the closer a family car resembles a cross between a combine harvester and a rocket launcher, the happier today's families are.’
      • ‘It's been described as a cross between orienteering and sailing, of course with the extra dimension of being able to go up and down, something you don't wish to do in a sailing boat.’
      • ‘He led her out of the bedroom and into something that looked like a cross between a library, a laboratory, and a study.’
      • ‘He describes his life as a cross between being a GP, vicar and social worker - ‘which is fine, but not very challenging’.’
      • ‘Covered only from waist down by white sheets, they evoked a cross between Greek statues and hospital patients.’
      • ‘His hair was scraggly and slightly curly, its color a cross between brown and black.’
      • ‘This is the ideal present for someone with a slightly sadistic nature as a cross between a plant and a pet.’
  • 4Soccer
    A pass of the ball across the field towards the centre close to one's opponents' goal.

    ‘Beckham's low cross was turned into the net by Cole’
    • ‘Only a few minutes had gone when the Welshman flung in an inviting right-foot cross to the back post.’
    • ‘He creates so many goals for others with his precision crosses and his sweeping through balls.’
    • ‘The former Rochdale man delivered a pin-point low cross for top-scorer Foster to turn home from close range.’
    • ‘He looks in an off-side position but the linesman disagrees, and so he can ping another cross in.’
    • ‘His limp cross was kicked towards the Leeds goal by Ian Harte and only a smart save by Nigel Martyn kept things equal.’
    1. 4.1Boxing A blow given with a crosswise movement of the fist.
      ‘a right cross’
      • ‘The messages from Moore's brain to the rest of his body were immediately scrambled by the perfectly timed right cross, and Moore fell down to the canvas in a heap.’
      • ‘He was very mobile for a man his size and he had a pretty fair right cross.’
      • ‘Faster than I could recover, he whipped his massive fist into a right cross that took me in the jaw.’
      • ‘He had an excellent one-two combination and a surprisingly stiff right cross, which enabled him to score a number of early knockouts.’
      • ‘Jason kneed him in the stomach before following the blow with a right cross to his mouth.’


  • as cross as two sticks

    • Very annoyed or irritated.

      ‘she was as jumpy as a cat and as cross as two sticks’
      • ‘Here I am, tired, hot and as cross as two sticks (British expression - get it - like two sticks are crossed, you know to make an X - har har - never mind…)’
      • ‘Jo is as cross as two sticks today.’
      • ‘It is then that that he gets very frowny and shouty and looks as cross as two sticks, like Geoff, though not as sexy.’
      • ‘Because of this I have been as cross as two sticks for the last couple of hours and my pain and anger has led me to eat cake when I am supposed to be detoxing.’
      • ‘And he came home next day dragging one foot after another, with a wizened face and as cross as two sticks.’
      • ‘‘It could do that and still freeze you to death,’ I says, as cross as two sticks.’
      • ‘I really get as cross as two sticks when I get to a city and find out they have forgotten that it should be possible for bikes to pass without great difficulties.’
  • at cross purposes

    • Misunderstanding or having different aims from one another.

      ‘we had been talking at cross purposes’
      • ‘He was genuinely concerned that the Spurs affair might re-open the wounds that were patched up last season when he and the player were at cross purposes for a time.’
      • ‘The script is a series of vignettes, short dialogues in which people often talk at cross purposes to each other, sometimes to comic effect, sometimes not.’
      • ‘In the past such people were disorganized and often at cross purposes, in both political parties and no political party.’
      • ‘At the same time, it needs to ensure that other policies - such as transport policy - are pulling in the same direction rather than working at cross purposes.’
      • ‘All of these ‘villains’ act independently at times, and often at cross purposes.’
      • ‘Well, it looks like the sheriff and the DA are at cross purposes with one another.’
      • ‘I suspect the opposing sides may be at cross purposes at times, and that a solid working definition could clarify the debate.’
      • ‘And those two goals are at cross purposes with each other.’
      • ‘Well, i don't think this's going anywhere, but it's a shame, as I still get the impression we're talking at cross purposes.’
      • ‘I think we're talking at cross purposes here pal, that's the one I bought a few weeks ago, hence the fifteen quid well spent.’
      conflicting, in conflict, contrasting, incompatible, irreconcilable, antithetical, contradictory, clashing, contrary, different, differing, divergent, dissimilar, disagreeing, in disagreement, at odds, at cross purposes, at loggerheads, opposed, opposing, opposite, in opposition, poles apart, polar, at outs
      View synonyms
  • cross one's fingers

    • Put one finger across another as a sign of hoping for good luck.

      ‘we will be keeping our fingers crossed that a quick thaw is on its way’
      • ‘She clambered into the boat and, crossing her fingers that this crazy experiment would work, began to row.’
      • ‘This year, we'll just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope all will be well.’
      • ‘We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that the blood tests will prove negative.’
      • ‘However all concerned are keeping their fingers crossed in the hope that the work will be completed.’
      • ‘So let's keep our fingers crossed and hope that it's a little bit light enough in the morning to burn those clouds off.’
      • ‘Or they may decide to keep their fingers crossed until their renewal date and hope that no major disaster strikes.’
      • ‘If nothing unlucky happens to you today, cross your fingers and touch wood because it's only six months until the next Friday the 13th.’
      • ‘Jamilla kept her fingers crossed and it wasn't long before her innermost prayers were answered: she got an opening to play overseas.’
      • ‘I'm crossing my fingers for the best, and holding my breath until March 26.’
      • ‘We kept our fingers crossed that the rain would continue, and when it did we planted broad beans, broccoli, and radishes which are now thriving.’
      hope for the best
      View synonyms
  • cross the floor

    • Join the opposing side in Parliament.

      • ‘Having crossed the floor to become a Liberal in 1904 (as a free trader opposed to tariff reform), Churchill became president of the Board of Trade four years later.’
      • ‘He was once a Labour councillor in the city, but crossed the floor to join the Tories.’
      • ‘If just eight Government members were willing to cross the floor, the will of this parliament, the will of our democracy would prevail.’
      • ‘He was succeeded by Shaun Woodward, a director of party public relations, who later crossed the floor of the House of Commons to join the Labour Party.’
      • ‘Basically, the Tory MP approached the Liberals because he and his wife, Nina (also an MP) wanted to cross the floor and join the government.’
      • ‘In 1900 he entered the House of Commons as a Conservative but crossed the floor within four years to join the Liberals on the issue of free trade.’
      • ‘The cardinal crime in the Labor calendar has traditionally been ‘to rat’; that is, to cross the floor and join the opposition.’
      • ‘Indeed, within a few weeks Churchill crossed the floor of the House from the Conservative benches to join the Liberals.’
      • ‘Since then four more Labour councillors have crossed the floor of council chambers around the country to join Respect.’
      • ‘Thus, it was not a new development, when, after the 2001 elections, a handful of members of Parliament crossed the floor from opposition parties to the ruling MMD party.’
  • cross my heart (and hope to die)

    • Used to emphasize the truthfulness and sincerity of what one is saying.

      ‘I'm deadly serious—cross my heart and hope to die’
      • ‘Our cows, cross my heart, have the choice of their own vets while local horses have no need to wait for elective surgery.’
      • ‘Just tell me the truth and I cross my heart, I won't tell anyone else in the world.’
      • ‘Well this time I mean it, honest, cross my heart hope to die.’
      • ‘I promise that I won't laugh - cross my heart, hope to die.’
      • ‘‘I can tell you with the utmost truth, cross my heart and hope to die and all the rest of it, one Sunday night we heard Tokyo Rose and her propaganda broadcast,’ says Don, now aged 75.’
      • ‘I had to cross my heart and swear to die and even then promise to do to her no harm before I could convince him.’
      • ‘‘I understand entirely, cross my heart hope to die,’ he said seriously.’
      • ‘Honey I swear… I will not take any assignments… I know our last vacations were cut short… But this will be different… I promise cross my heart…’
      • ‘Next time, cross my heart, I promise to share the recipe for my Super-Duper Mint Fudge Walnut Divinity!’
      • ‘I promise myself, cross my heart hope to die, that I will never again get into a car when Grant is behind the wheel.’
  • cross one's legs

    • Place one leg over the other while seated.

      ‘I crossed my legs and leaned back in my chair’
      • ‘She sat down in a chair opposite his own and crossed her legs.’
      • ‘She sat down on my unmade bed and crossed her legs.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, those who can't cross their legs shouldn't get too worried.’
      • ‘She leans back in her chair, lazily crossing her legs.’
      • ‘Setting the tray down in the middle of the rug, David sat, crossing his legs Indian-style.’
      • ‘She fled back to the stoop, seating herself there, crossing her legs.’
      • ‘I crossed my legs through my whole wait.’
      • ‘I have often said, when she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs.’
      • ‘Crossing her legs at her ankles, she lifted her gaze to her older sister expectantly.’
      • ‘She was from Texas, she said, crossing her legs.’
  • cross one's mind

    • (of a thought) occur to one, especially transiently.

      ‘it had not crossed Flora's mind that they might need payment’
      • ‘He is unflinching mentally: ‘I don't think about what's happened to me in the past and it never crosses my mind when I'm playing I might get hurt.‘’
      • ‘That was the last thought that crossed his mind before his mind shut down and he drifted into blissful sleep.’
      • ‘Has it ever crossed your mind that indoor air quality could have an impact on your health?’
      • ‘It's impossible to say how I was feeling at the time. I thought her life was in danger, and the thought that she was going to die crossed my mind.’
      • ‘When I ordered the poster the potential for this problem crossed my mind but I dismissed it out of hand.’
      • ‘Let's face it, if these things were easy to do, we would do them when the idea first crossed our mind.’
      • ‘But despite all of this, and despite the 16-page pullout supplement, Canada never even crosses my mind as a holiday destination.’
      • ‘The experience was friendly, informative, relaxed and effective in so far as I have not smoked since then and the thought of having one rarely crosses my mind.’
      • ‘Getting her own flat only fleetingly crosses her mind.’
      • ‘It crosses my mind how fast we've adapted to our surroundings.’
      occur to one, come to one, come to mind, spring to mind, enter one's head, enter one's mind, strike one, hit one, dawn on one, come into one's consciousness, suggest itself
      View synonyms
  • cross someone's palm with silver

    • humorous Pay someone for a favour or service, especially before having one's fortune told.

      ‘we strongly suspect her palm had been crossed with silver in return for her silence’
      • ‘Some people don't even say thank you, but they do cross my palm with silver, so I can't complain.’
      • ‘Allegedly, a great deal more money has since crossed the palms of those in local government, and all of the charges against the owner seem to have been forgotten.’
      • ‘There are things he could do to make his company more efficient, but he won't do them until someone crosses his palm with silver.’
      • ‘Please now cross my palm with silver, or I'll set that woman on you.’
      • ‘‘I will take it,’ she said, fishing in her purse and crossing his palm with silver: ‘Here is the cost of your time.’’
      • ‘You may get a barman with a seething hatred for you in his steely glare, tempered only lightly if you choose to cross his palm with extra silver.’
      • ‘Yet, in allowing him to cross his palm with silver - £160,000 pieces to be exact - McDonald became the architect of his own downfall.’
      • ‘Meanwhile the rest of the world will move ahead, while our country is stuck in the mud because no one can write 1 + 1 = 2 without crossing somebody's palm with silver.’
      • ‘I fall for it every time; who wouldn't - the chance for follicular perfection by just crossing someone's palm with silver.’
      • ‘I am the gipsy Zara, and if you cross my palm with silver, I will venture to advise you on your adventures.’
  • cross someone's path

    • Be met or encountered.

      ‘she got to know people who wouldn't ordinarily cross her path’
      ‘their paths crossed years later at Manchester University’
      • ‘She told him: ‘I take the view that you are more than capable, and extremely likely, to resort to violence against anyone who crosses your path.’’
      • ‘From now on, I do so solemnly swear that whoever crosses my path will meet a very painful end.’
      • ‘I don't think I recall any Malaysian fiction ever crossing my path, so this is a first.’
      • ‘Glass is interrupted by the antics of extended family and friends who keep crossing his path in need of help.’
      • ‘Delightful memories that at least we can carry with us as some kind of consolation for knowing that we won't be crossing his path again on this side of Paradise.’
      • ‘During our normal daily lives in our own countries, the variety of interesting characters we meet in Pattaya probably would not cross our path.’
      • ‘It doesn't matter if you're shy or that you are a homebody, God will see to it that Mr. Right crosses your path in due time, says Rev.’
      • ‘I'm still poking around, seeing how things work, how people interact with each other, and thinking critically about art, design, science, religion, and pretty much anything else that crosses my path.’
      • ‘I'm of a fearsome mind to throw my arms around every living librarian who crosses my path, on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved.’
      • ‘Jessica is never afraid to say ‘Hi’ to whomever crosses her path as she makes her way through her first year of middle school.’
  • cross swords

    • Have an argument or dispute.

      ‘the two leaders crossed swords’
      • ‘She regularly joins in discussions on Britain's economic future, and recently crossed swords with Germaine Greer in a debate on the future of her adoptive city.’
      • ‘Here he pauses, drops his diplomatic shield and oozes contempt for those he crossed swords with during his lengthy TV career.’
      • ‘An intense and sometimes fiery debate resulted in councillors crossing swords on a number of occasions.’
      • ‘The two main parties crossed swords over the Midland Regional Authority's Draft Regional Planning Guidelines at Monday's County Council meeting.’
      • ‘And I'm sure our leaders have exaggerated the extent to which they enjoyed crossing swords with him.’
      • ‘The two counties are meeting for the second time in four weeks, and this will be the tenth meeting of the sides since they first crossed swords almost 50 years ago.’
      • ‘Leading names in politics and business will cross swords at the Manchester Evening News's great debate on a mini-parliament for the north west.’
      • ‘I don't think I'd fancy crossing swords with him in open debate.’
      • ‘Though a champion of education, the moderate Republican repeatedly crossed swords with the teachers' union while mayor.’
      • ‘The lawyer, who has crossed swords and won a court battle initially halting Powell's attempts to relax media ownership limits, also chided the chairman for not seeking input on other issues.’
  • crossed line

    • A telephone connection that has been wrongly made with the result that another call or calls can be heard.

      ‘the system will be totally secure from crossed lines and tapping’
      • ‘An ‘intermittent crossed line fault on the company's UK network’ is being blamed for some callers being able to listen in to other people's calls.’
      • ‘It's a crossed line, the other party won't get off the phone and it takes the intervention of the operator to get through to your lover.’
      • ‘Sorry, there must be a crossed line, I can't hear what you're saying!’
      • ‘Yesterday, over a crossed line, she heard a murder being planned.’
      • ‘If there was a fight on the street, or an argument in the next room, or a crossed line, or someone punishing a child, he was transfixed, and he listened.’
      • ‘For the past 48 hours I keep keep getting completely crossed lines and ending up with the person I'm calling talking to someone else and me connected to someone else too.’
      • ‘I'm just about to put the phone down, when I hear muffled voices in the background like a crossed line.’
      • ‘It was bad enough that his phone kept getting crossed lines, without the added hassle of all the low-lifes he was being forced to talk to.’
  • get one's wires (or lines) crossed

    • 1Become wrongly connected by telephone.

      • ‘Mobile phone punters in London have been having the weirdest conversations after the phone company admitted that it has been getting its wires crossed.’
      1. 1.1Have a misunderstanding.
        ‘somewhere along the line someone had got their wires crossed, that much was clear’
        • ‘And it is obvious that even the Reuter correspondent has got his wires crossed on the above subject.’
        • ‘I think your reporter and myself got our wires crossed when I was talking to him about housing issues in general.’
        • ‘The perception that commanding officers got their wires crossed has been reinforced by reports and books on the conflict.’
        • ‘I think it's you who've got your wires crossed.’
        • ‘Also, let me point out that you've got your wires crossed.’
        • ‘I think W K Quick may have got his wires crossed regarding certain drivers being exempt from paying vehicle excise duty.’
        • ‘Unfortunately nurse got her wires crossed again, she gave the lady 12 tablets at two.’
        • ‘This was an organised trip with written permission, and someone has got their wires crossed, and the whole thing has snowballed.’
        • ‘I would strongly advise her to go back and read her history books once again as she has got her wires crossed from a historical point of view.’
        • ‘Okay, so having fun with role reversal is one thing, but Geoff and I have seriously got our lines crossed these past couple days.’
  • have a/one's cross to bear

    • Have a difficult problem or responsibility one has to deal with.

      ‘as a smoker, I can tell you it's a horrible habit, but that's my cross to bear’
      • ‘I have my cross to bear and she has hers.’
      • ‘Svennis has his cross to bear, and he's unlikely to be entirely loved even if he wins in Germany.’
      • ‘We all have our cross to bear, I suppose.’
      • ‘We all have our cross to bear in life.’
      • ‘So you have your cross to bear.’
      • ‘When it comes to natural disasters, every region has its crosses to bear.’
      • ‘Every team has a cross to bear, and if that's the Yankees cross, so be it.’
      • ‘We all know that Dudley has his own cross to bear.’
      • ‘Sometimes I think I became a lesbian so I'd have a cross to bear.’
      • ‘Oh, well, we all have our crosses to bear.’


Late Old English (in the sense ‘monument in the form of a cross’): from Old Norse kross, from Old Irish cros, from Latin crux.