Definition of cross-examine in English:



  • 1 Question (a witness called by the other party) in a court of law to discredit or undercut testimony already given.

    Compare with direct examination
    • ‘He certainly was cross-examined, this witness, and on this letter.’
    • ‘She had heard the entire prosecution case and her barrister had cross-examined all the witnesses produced on behalf of the Crown.’
    • ‘She rejected the alternative of an adjournment for what was said to be a further day or day and a half to enable witnesses to be cross-examined.’
    • ‘He said each state witness had been extensively cross-examined, and the court had no reason to rule any of them evasive or to doubt their veracity.’
    • ‘The appellant gave evidence and was cross-examined at length.’
    • ‘In fact, he did attend to cross-examine one further witness but otherwise took no active part in the proceedings thereafter.’
    • ‘He referred to how prosecution witnesses were cross-examined.’
    • ‘They are neutral observers who can challenge the prosecution and cross-examine witnesses.’
    • ‘Politics, however, cannot be kept out of the trial without abandoning some fundamentals of the rule of law, like allowing the defendant to cross-examine witnesses for the prosecution.’
    • ‘Then he went on to talk about the length of time that the Crown Prosecutor had cross-examined those witnesses who had been called by the appellant.’
    • ‘The case involved a woman who was denied legal aid having to cross-examine in court the man she alleged had physically abused her.’
    • ‘He would have known that his giving a name could lead to his being summonsed to court and to being cross-examined.’
    • ‘Witnesses were called and cross-examined, counsel addressed the jury, the judge summed up, and the jury convicted.’
    • ‘Her counsel also suggests, in cross-examining a prosecution eye witness, Gary, that he had been high on heroin on the night of the alleged murder and that his account of events was not therefore reliable.’
    • ‘This ruling should also be clear that I am not precluding the defence from cross-examining the third party on this issue.’
    • ‘He then attempted to cross-examine this key prosecution witness.’
    • ‘Another point was that the co-accused's counsel cross-examined a number of witnesses to suggest that women generally were in fear of my client.’
    • ‘Witnesses will not be cross-examined during their first appearance before the tribunal.’
    • ‘Witnesses may be cross-examined by the defendant and the presenter.’
    • ‘The prosecution even declined to cross-examine the last defense witness.’
    1. 1.1Question (someone) aggressively or in great detail.
      ‘I was cross-examined over the breakfast table’
      • ‘These days guests are often cross-examined before their participation is confirmed to make sure that they will come out fighting.’
      • ‘Well, I've taken a look at how those girls were cross-examined.’
      • ‘At times, it sounds like she is cross-examining him, although sometimes she is acknowledging she does have some fears about his alibis.’
      • ‘The officer was cross-examined as to the detail of the conversation and conceded that the record in his notebook was far from full.’
      • ‘It was there that I was able to surreptitiously cross-examine these men.’
      • ‘We didn't even notice, but a Military Policeman discovered the substitution and cross-examined us.’
      • ‘The mother is not a lawyer and she is not a policeman and it is very unlikely that she would have cross-examined her daughter about the detail of this incident.’
      • ‘At times it seems like he really is cross-examining him on just about every aspect of his alibi and why he told the lies he did.’
      • ‘He was not cross-examined as to what he meant by this.’
      • ‘But think about all the damage that he was able to do by cross-examining these people.’
      • ‘If a Tory prime minister died in office the country could not wait for months while candidates were cross-examined in village halls.’
      • ‘They won't give out press conferences to give the media an opportunity to cross-examine their officials.’
      • ‘That went down a bomb with the soldiers who searched my luggage and cross-examined me several times at Tel Aviv airport when I was leaving on New Year's Day.’
      • ‘It will be a real opportunity for the people of Swindon to ask the questions that matter to them and I am sure the good people of Swindon will cross-examine us.’
      • ‘After cross-examining me regarding my identity and my employer, he asked me to summarize the story.’
      • ‘Employing all the legalistic tricks of her trade, she probed and cross-examined me at breakfast and each evening.’
      • ‘But I would immediately cross-examine her on the nature of their relationship.’
      interrogate, question, cross-question, quiz, catechize
      interview, examine, probe, sound out, debrief
      put questions to, ask questions of
      grill, pump, give the third degree to, put through the third degree, put through the wringer, put through the mangle, put the screws on
      View synonyms