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Originally a sporting term in which a "cross" referred to an event that had been fixed by the participants to fail; a "double cross" happened when one participant secretly backed out of that arrangement and went on to win the event.
1. noun An act of duplicitous betrayal or swindling, especially of a friend, ally, or colleague. Sometimes hyphenated. Double crosses happen all the time in politics, with politicians making promises to each other behind closed doors and reneging upon them down the road. Jonathan's double-cross ended up costing our company millions of dollars of wasted research and development.
2. verb To betray or cheat someone in a duplicitous manner, especially by going back on a previously agreed upon arrangement. Usually hyphenated. We've been double-crossed, fellas, so keep your eyes open for the cops. John and I spent years developing the product together, but he double-crossed me once it was finished and got a patent for it under his name alone.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
A deliberate betrayal; violation of a promise or obligation, as in They had planned a double cross, intending to keep all of the money for themselves. This usage broadens the term's earlier sense in sports gambling, where it alluded to the duplicity of a contestant who breaks his word after illicitly promising to lose. Both usages gave rise to the verb double-cross. [Late 1800s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. tv. to betray someone. (Originally a more complicated switching of sides in a conspiracy wherein the double-crosser sides with the victim of the conspiracy—against the original conspirator.) Don’t even think about double crossing me!
2. n. a betrayal. (See comments with sense 1) It’s one double cross Frank is sorry about.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.