Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
cross (one's) bows
To annoy or irritate. Boy, you are really crossing my bows today. Why can't you just do what I ask without arguing about it?
cross the Great Divide
To die. I'm really scared that mom is going to cross the Great Divide any day now. The doctors are saying that it's only a matter of time.
cross (one's) fingers
To hope that something will happen. The actual gesture, which does not have to accompany the phrase, involves crossing one's middle finger over the index finger as a superstition believed to bring good luck or ward off bad luck. I'm crossing my fingers that I get a bike for my birthday!
1. To draw a line through someone's name on a list (possibly to denote their presence, absence, or their completion of something). A noun or pronoun can be used between "cross" and "off." I crossed off all the kids that were on-time today. Hey, cross me off—I already brought in my donation.
2. To mark something as completed, as on a list. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cross" and "off." I mowed the lawn today, so I can finally cross that off my to-do list. You'll finally be able to cross off hang gliding on your bucket list!
To draw a line through or otherwise obscure something so as to designate its removal or need to be disregarded. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cross" and "out." A: "Why is Amy's name crossed out?" B: "Because she's not coming on the field trip anymore." I crossed out all of the words that need to be deleted in the next draft.
1. verb To pass over something, as from an elevated position. Can we use the bridge to cross over the creek? I don't want to get wet.
2. verb To move from one place to another, as by crossing some sort of border, barrier, or stretch of land; to cross. Thousands of refugees are expected to cross over the border in the coming months. We have to cross over an entire desert before we reach an outpost.
3. verb To become successful in a separate but related field or genre. Don't expect to reach George Clooney's level of success—few television actors are able to cross over to movies so seamlessly. The pop star actually began her career as a country singer before she crossed over.
4. verb To cause someone to become successful in a separate but related field or genre. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "cross" and "over." A successful TV show could cross you over into movies one day.
5. verb To change one's affiliation with something; to join a different side or party. She used to be a devout Catholic, so I'm surprised to hear that she's now crossed over to Judaism. I didn't realize that Uncle Roger was once a Democrat, since he crossed over to the Republican Party so long ago.
6. verb, euphemism To die. It's been a year since my grandfather crossed over, and I still miss him just as much. We'll all cross over to the other side one day, so you better make the best of life while you can.
7. noun A creative work, such as a television episode or story, that incorporates characters from a different (often related) show or story. In this usage, the phrase is usually written as one word. I can't wait for the crossover of Supergirl and The Flash!
8. noun A vehicle that combines the features of a car and a sport utility vehicle (SUV). It is typically bigger than a traditional car and smaller than a traditional SUV. In this usage, the phrase is usually hyphenated or written as one word. After having this tiny car for so long, I think I want a crossover next.
9. noun In basketball, a move in which the player dribbles the ball one way before quickly changing direction in order to pass by the defender. In this usage, the phrase is usually written as one word. He's known for his lightning quick crossover, which has left some defenders tumbling on the floor.
10. noun In ice skating, a move accomplished by alternating the skating foot by crossing one over the other to gain momentum or change direction. Used for varying purposes in both figure skating and ice hockey. In this usage, the phrase is usually written as one word. You'd better learn how to do a proper crossover if you want to bring your skating to the next level.
11. adjective Describing someone that is successful in two separate but related fields or genres. When used as an adjective, the phrase is usually written as one word. Don't expect to reach George Clooney's level of success—few television actors are able to become a crossover star so quickly.
12. adjective Describing something that blends two distinct but related things, as to appeal to a wide audience. When used as an adjective, the phrase is usually written as one word. A TV show that's also a musical is a crossover dream—think of the audience we'll capture! I can't wait for the crossover episode of Supergirl and The Flash!
cross over into (some place)
To move from one place into another, as by crossing some sort of border or barrier. Our driving goal today is to cross over into Nebraska before nightfall.
To fight or argue. Danielle and I crossed swords over our different approaches to the experiment.
cross the line
1. Of an action, to cross some threshold into unacceptable or inappropriate behavior. Speaking that rudely to your teacher definitely crosses the line.
2. To misbehave or do something unacceptable or inappropriate. When you spoke that rudely to your teacher, you definitely crossed the line.
cross the Rubicon
To commit to a particular plan or course of action that cannot be reversed. The phrase refers to how Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon river and became embroiled in civil war in 49 BCE. Look, if you cheat on this test, you are crossing the Rubicon, man. You can't take that back. I think I crossed the Rubicon when I took this management position. It would be a huge pay cut to go back to my old job, and my boss would be furious.
cross the stream where it is shallowest
To do something by using the easiest method available. Let's just cross the stream where it is shallowest and find a spot that you can pull right in to—don't worry about parallel parking.
1. To deceive or swindle someone. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cross" and "up." Don't cross up that guy if you want a job in publishing—he's a celebrated editor.
2. To confuse or mix up one or more things. I must have crossed up the files—this paperwork doesn't belong in here.
dot the i's and cross the t's
To do something carefully and make sure that every last minor detail is completed. Please make sure to dot the i's and cross the t's when signing this contract. I made sure to dot the i's and cross the t's when installing the circuit breaker—you can never be too careful with electrical work.
1. to cross something such as a river or a street. This is a very wide river. Where do we cross over? Let's cross over here where it's shallow.
2. to change sides, from one to another. Some players from the other team crossed over and joined ours after the tournament.
3. Euph. to die. Uncle Herman crossed over long before Aunt Helen.
cross over something
to go some place by crossing a border, river, mountain range, etc. Do we want to cross over the river at this point? How do we cross over the highway?
cross someone or something off (of) somethingand cross someone or something off
to eliminate a name from a list or record. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) We will have to cross her off of our list. We crossed off Sarah. I crossed the sweater off the list of what I needed to buy.
cross someone or something out
to draw a line through the name of someone or something on a list or record. You can cross me out. I'm not going. Please cross out Sarah's name. I crossed the sweater out. It was an error.
cross someone up
to give someone trouble; to defy or betray someone; to spoil someone's plans. (Also without up.) You really crossed up Bill when you told Tom what he said. Please don't cross me up again.
cross swords (with someone)
Fig. to become the adversary of someone. Gloria loved an argument and was looking forward to crossing swords with Sally.
cross the Rubicon
Fig. to do something that inevitably commits one to following a certain course of action. (Alludes to the crossing of the River Rubicon by Julius Caesar with his army, which involved him in a civil war in B.C. 49.) Jane crossed the Rubicon by signing the contract. Find another job before you cross the Rubicon and resign from this one.
Cross the stream where it is shallowest.
Prov. To do things in the easiest possible way. Jill: How can I get Fred to give me permission to start this project? Jane: Cross the stream where it is shallowest. First ask Fred's boss for permission; I'm sure she'll give it to you. Then Fred will have to agree.
1. Change from one field or affiliation to another, as in Graham Greene crossed over from the Anglican to the Roman Catholic Church, or If he doesn't run I'm going to cross over to the Democratic Party. [First half of 1900s]
2. Also, cross over to the other side. Die, as in It's a year since my grandmother crossed over to the other side. [c. 1930]
Fight, either verbally or physically. For example, At every policy meeting the two vice-presidents crossed swords. This phrase alludes to the ancient form of combat using swords. Also see at sword's point.
cross the Rubicon
Irrevocably commit to a course of action, make a fateful and final decision. For example, Once he submitted his resignation, he had crossed the Rubicon. This phrase alludes to Julius Caesar's crossing the Rubicon River (between Italy and Gaul) in 49 b.c., thereby starting a war against Pompey and the Roman Senate. Recounted in Plutarch's Lives: Julius Caesar (c. a.d. 110), the crossing gave rise to the figurative English usage by the early 1600s.
1. Betray, double-cross, cheat, as in Jack crossed up his buddies and told the police they had broken in. Originally this usage often was put simply as to cross. [Early 1800s]
2. Confuse, muddle, as in We all planned to meet at the restaurant but several of us got crossed up as to time and place .
dot the i's and cross the t's
Be meticulous and precise, fill in all the particulars, as in Laura had dotted all the i's and crossed the t's, so she wondered what she'd done wrong . This expression presumably began as an admonition to schoolchildren to write carefully and is sometimes shortened. William Makepeace Thackeray had it in a magazine article ( Scribner's Magazine, 1849): "I have . . . dotted the i's." [Mid-1800s]
dot the i's and cross the t's
If you dot the i's and cross the t's, you make sure that all the details of something are correct. The two sides are close to a basic agreement. Dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's may take some time, however. Unless all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed, a contract is not likely to be enforced. Note: In old-fashioned styles of handwriting, you write a word with one movement of your pen, and then go back and add the dot to any i's and the cross-strokes to any t's.
cross the line
1. If someone crosses the line, they start behaving in an unacceptable or offensive way. The show's pretty outrageous, but I don't think it crosses the line. There was no reason to bring our families into it. That's crossing the line.
2. If someone or something crosses the line, they go from one situation or activity to another more extreme one. They could easily cross the line from civil disobedience to violence. Congress and the public were not informed about the decision to cross the line from defense to preparation for war. Note: The `line' in this expression may refer to boxing matches in the past, when a line was drawn on the ground which neither boxer could cross. `Draw the line' may be based on a similar idea.
cross the RubiconFORMAL
If you cross the Rubicon, you make an important decision which cannot be changed and which will have very important consequences. Today the Government has crossed the Rubicon in favour of the Euro. In England and Wales the Rubicon has been crossed regarding the charging of fees to students. Note: This expression is variable, for example people sometimes talk about the crossing of the Rubicon or a crossing of the Rubicon. Such a decision would be a crossing of the Rubicon. Note: Sometimes this important decision is referred to as a person's Rubicon. There would be no turning back; if he was making a big mistake, this was his Rubicon. Note: The Rubicon was a small river which separated Roman Italy from Gaul, the province ruled by Julius Caesar. Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC, invaded Roman Italy, and started a civil war. `The die is cast' is based on the same incident.
If you cross swords with someone, you disagree and argue with them or oppose them. Note: `Ploughshares' is spelled `plowshares' in American English. He repeatedly crossed swords with Mrs Gandhi in the early 1970s. Fowler and Booth had crossed swords on many occasions in the closing months of the Callaghan Labour government.
cross swordshave an argument or dispute.
Originally, this expression had the literal sense of ‘fight a duel’.
dot the i's and cross the t'sensure that all details are correct. informal
cross the Rubicontake an irrevocable step.
The Rubicon was a small river in north-east Italy which in the first century bc marked the boundary of Italy proper with the province of Cisalpine Gaul. By taking his army across the Rubicon into Italy in 49 bc , Julius Caesar broke the law forbidding a general to lead an army out of his own province, and so committed himself to war against the Senate and Pompey.
cross the ˈRubicon(formal) reach a point where an important decision is taken which cannot be changed later: Today we cross the Rubicon. There is no going back.The Rubicon was a stream which formed the border between Italy and Gaul. When Julius Caesar broke the law by crossing it with his army, it led inevitably to war.
cross ˈswords (with somebody)have an argument (with somebody): At the committee meeting, I crossed swords with Professor Smith over her department’s overspending.
1. To draw a line or lines on something to delete or obscure it, or to indicate that it should be canceled or ignored: The student crossed out so many words that the essay was difficult to read. I crossed the sentence out and rewrote it.
2. To remove someone or something from a list or record: The teacher crossed out the name of each student who had left the school. We crossed them out of the database when they left the neighborhood.
1. To move from one side of something to another: Let's cross over the bridge.
2. To change from one condition or loyalty to another: The political party was furious when the senator crossed over and voted against the bill.
3. To extend success or popularity in one field into another: The actor successfully crossed over from the stage to the movies.
4. To extend the success or popularity of someone in one field into another: The jazz musician hoped the media exposure would cross her over to a pop audience.
5. To die: My uncle finally crossed over after a long illness.
1. To confuse someone by acting in a way that is contrary to what is expected: The pitcher threw a wild pitch that crossed up the catcher and allowed the runner to steal a base. The quarterback crossed us up with a fake handoff.
2. To cause some bicycle or motor vehicle to turn about the vertical axis so that it is no longer oriented in the direction that it is moving, often resulting in an abrupt stop. Used chiefly in the passive: On the last jump, my motorcycle became crossed up in the air, and I landed sideways.
3. To turn about the vertical axis so that one is no longer oriented in the direction that one is moving, often resulting in an abrupt stop: The car crossed up in the last turn, and the other car rammed into the side of it.
To quarrel or fight.