Definition of Maltese cross in English:

Maltese cross

noun

  • 1A cross with arms of equal length that broaden from the center and have their ends indented in a shallow V-shape.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘The + signs in the decorative line below the title are Maltese crosses in the original.’
    • ‘Greg's got a really big Maltese cross tattoo on his back.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 2A plant of the pink family ("Lychnis chalcedonica"), with small scarlet petals arranged in the shape of a Maltese cross.

    • ‘Green grasses also work well for separating strong colors and boldly patterned blooms, such as the intense red heads of Maltese cross and the bull's-eye stripes of blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora).’
    • ‘We planted Maltese crosses, phlox, snapdragons, and other interesting plants.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

Maltese cross

/mɔlˈˌtiz ˈkrɔs/