Definition of Maltese cross in US English:

Maltese cross


  • 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 + 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.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘Greg's got a really big Maltese cross tattoo on his back.’
  • 2A plant of the pink family (Lychnis chalcedonica), with small scarlet petals arranged in the shape of a Maltese cross.

    • ‘We planted Maltese crosses, phlox, snapdragons, and other interesting plants.’
    • ‘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).’


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


Maltese cross

/mɔlˈˌtiz ˈkrɔs/