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cross section

a section made by a plane cutting anything transversely, especially at right angles to the longest axis.
a piece so cut off.
a photograph, diagram, or other pictorial representation of such a section.
the act of cutting anything across.
a typical selection; a sample showing all characteristic parts, relationships, etc.:
a cross section of American opinion.
Surveying. a vertical section of the ground surface taken at right angles to a survey line.
Also called nuclear cross section. Physics. a quantity expressing the effective area that a given nucleus presents as a target to a bombarding particle, giving a measure of the probability that the particle will induce a reaction.
Origin of cross section


[kraws-sek-shuh n, kros-] /ˈkrɔsˈsɛk ʃən, ˈkrɒs-/
Also, cross-sectional. of or relating to a cross section.
verb (used with object)
to make or divide into a cross section.
1875-80 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cross section
  • Together these tips suggest a cross section of a single many-stranded organism or cable.
  • As always, there was a cross section of experts testifying at the hearing.
  • The cylinder, which mimics the cross section of a palm tree, is dense on the outside and porous in the middle.
  • For this to be valid, one's information must contain a true cross section of society for its opinions.
  • It was the same thing that atomic and particle physicists call a collision cross section.
  • T he extravaganza brought together an astounding cross section of creative talent.
  • Here, among a curated cross section of his people, he was secure.
  • Working with this cross section of artists was great because each one had a different experience with hip-hop.
  • It is not, nor will it ever be limited to your readership, or a broad cross section of the public.
  • Layer after layer, the laser traces the cross section of the cup, building it from the bottom up--including the handle.
British Dictionary definitions for cross section

cross section

(maths) a plane surface formed by cutting across a solid, esp perpendicular to its longest axis
a section cut off in this way
the act of cutting anything in this way
a random selection or sample, esp one regarded as representative: a cross section of the public
(surveying) a vertical section of a line of ground at right angles to a survey line
(physics) a measure of the probability that a collision process will result in a particular reaction. It is expressed by the effective area that one participant presents as a target for the other
Derived Forms
cross-sectional, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cross section



also cross section, 1748, originally in engineering sketches, from cross (adj.) + section (n.). Figurative sense of "representative sample" is from 1903.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cross section in Science
cross section  
In particle physics, an expression of the probability of the occurrence of an event, typically the scattering of subatomic particles, over a given area.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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