Definition of Maltese cross in English:

Maltese cross


  • A cross with arms of equal length which broaden from the centre and have their ends indented in a shallow V-shape.

    • ‘The upper left third was white with a red Maltese cross in it, the upper right third was blue, charged with a white paw print, and the bottom third was red and had a blue sword placed horizontally, pointing to the right.’
    • ‘Greg's got a really big Maltese cross tattoo on his back.’
    • ‘The Prince of Scandanavia, a sleek 22,578-gross-register-ton ship with a white Maltese cross in a blue circle emblazoned on her impressive funnel, was ready for boarding both passengers and vehicles.’
    • ‘The + signs in the decorative line below the title are Maltese crosses in the original.’
    • ‘By 1924 he managed to transmit across a few feet the flickering image of a Maltese cross and on 26th January 1926 he gave the world's first demonstration of true television in his attic workshop before some fifty scientists.’
    • ‘In Allegory of the Faith alone, a pattern of what can be read as white Maltese crosses, each made from five tiles, is set on a black background.’


So named because the cross was formerly worn by the Knights Hospitaller, who were based in Malta 1530–1798.


Maltese cross