9 Grammatical Pitfalls

double cross

a betrayal or swindle of a colleague.
an attempt to win a contest that one has agreed beforehand to lose.
Compare cross (def 21).
Genetics. a cross in which both parents are first-generation hybrids from single crosses, thus involving four inbred lines.
Origin of double cross


[duhb-uh l-kraws, -kros] /ˈdʌb əlˈkrɔs, -ˈkrɒs/
verb (used with object), Informal.
to prove treacherous to; betray or swindle, as by a double cross.
Related forms
double-crosser, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for double cross
  • She manages to escape and decides to double cross her gang and sell the chips for herself.
  • But don't double cross him or he will roll up the sleeves of his white silk shirt and get right after you.
  • There is a ton about loyalty and work and betrayal and cross and double cross.
  • In time, each participant's lust, greed and craving for raw power drives him to double cross and backstab his fellow perpetrators.
British Dictionary definitions for double cross

double cross

a technique for producing hybrid stock, esp seed for cereal crops, by crossing the hybrids between two different pairs of inbred lines


(transitive) to cheat or betray
the act or an instance of double-crossing; betrayal
Derived Forms
double-crosser, noun
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 double cross



1834, from double (adj.) + cross (n.) in the sense of "pre-arranged swindle or fix." Originally to win a race after promising to lose it. As a verb from 1903, American English. Related: Double-crossed; double-crossing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for double cross

double cross

noun phrase

A betrayal or cheating of one's own colleagues; an act of treachery, often in an illicit transaction: The two suspected dealers were planning a double-cross


: I would never double-cross a pal

Related Terms

give someone the double cross

[1834+; fr the reneging on an agreement to lose, a cross, by actually winning]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with double cross

double cross

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® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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