at cross purposes


Also found in: Legal.

at cross purposes

In conflict with or in opposition to. You will never find success if you continue to work at cross purposes with your teammates.
See also: cross, purpose

at cross-purposes

with opposing viewpoints; with goals that interfere with each other. We are arguing at cross-purposes. We aren't even discussing the same thing. Bill and Tom are working at cross-purposes. They'll never get the job done right.

at cross purposes

With aims or goals that conflict or interfere with one another, as in I'm afraid the two departments are working at cross purposes. This idiom, first recorded in 1688, may have begun as a 17th-century parlor game called "cross-purposes," in which a series of subjects (or questions) were divided from their explanations (or answers) and distributed around the room. Players then created absurdities by combining a subject taken from one person with an explanation taken from another.
See also: cross, purpose

at cross purposes

If two people are at cross purposes, they think they are talking about or trying to do the same thing as each other, but they are actually talking about or trying to do different things. They had been talking at cross purposes earlier, he realized. The Hungarian hadn't been offering him a share of the deal at all. Now that Council members are working together instead of at cross purposes, the chances of success look considerably brighter.
See also: cross, purpose

at cross purposes

misunderstanding or having different aims from one another.
See also: cross, purpose

at cross-purposes

Pursuing conflicting or contrary goals, usually unintentionally: We're working at cross-purposes.
References in periodicals archive ?
America's decision to go after three top Taliban militants could prompt Washington and Islamabad to work with each other in the war against terrorism instead of at cross purposes.
So, it's no surprise that when they later bump into each other, they both have kids on the brain - and when they end up talking at cross purposes, Shabnam says too much.
A COUNTRY that has abandoned all efforts at creating a saner immigration policy has gotten the result it deserves: not one policy but lots of little ones, acting at cross purposes and nullifying one another.
As much a vivid portrait of beautiful yet unforgiving land as it is a chaotic tangle of people at cross purposes, Faraway Roads is captivating and highly recommended.
When human interests are at cross purposes with the rodents' crazy schemes, the fur is sure to fly.
They offer a variety of tools, exercises, and examples from several industries such as Walmart, Pfizer, and Amazon to help companies learn how to create a strategically coherent company in which key elements reinforce each other rather than work at cross purposes.
The new Coalition may appear to be at cross purposes in some respects but make no mistake, both parties are determined to rescue the country from the calamitous black hole left by the
Mr de Baca said another issue was that several government agencies seemed to be working at cross purposes, including in Bahrain.
We have an effective partnership with Pakistan that is working to achieve our goals in the entire region and that we're not working at cross purposes, that issues of corruption are dealt with, that we are identifying not just a national government in Kabul, but provincial government actors that have legitimacy .
We may have been speaking at cross purposes," she apologised.
Our clerk of the course Katherine Self had phoned the BHA but it appears that we were at cross purposes.
It also would be possible to better coordinate the efforts of educational agencies and institutions that might otherwise work at cross purposes and to reduce needless duplication of effort.
Their efforts to keep young "Grifonino" safe, find out where he came from, and return him safely take them on a whirlwind of adventure and even danger, as they are at cross purposes with greedy paparazzi, eager scientists, and the lurking menace of Prince Eduardo.
Their actions are at cross purposes to their stated policy".
At Gettysburg, Lee seemed at cross purposes with his subordinates.