ETYM Old Eng. crois, croys, cros; the former from Old Fren. crois, croiz, French croix, from Latin crux; the second is perh. directly from Prov. cros, crotz. from the same Latin crux; cf. Icel. kross. Related to Crucial, Crusade, Cruise, Crux.
(Irregular plural: crosses).
1. A cross as an emblem of Christianity; used in heraldry.
2. A wooden structure consisting of an upright post with a transverse piece.
3. Any affliction that causes great suffering; SYN. crown of thorns.
Symbol of the Christian religion, in widespread use since the 3rd century. It is a symbol of the crucifixion of Jesus and the central significance of his suffering, death, and resurrection. The Latin cross is the most commonly used; other types are the Greek cross, St Anthony's cross, and St Andrew's cross. Symbolic crosses were used by pre-Christian cultures, for example the ancient Egyptian ankh (St Anthony's cross with a loop at the top), symbol of life, and the swastika, used by Hindus, Buddhists, Celts, and Native Americans before it was adopted by the Nazis.
Extending or lying across; in a crosswise direction; SYN. crossing, transverse, transversal, thwartwise.