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[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.
Origin of double-cross
Related forms
double-crosser, noun

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.
1825-35 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for double-cross
Historical Examples
  • In all my years and in all my trips over the southwest you are the first westerner to give me the double-cross.

  • I might have had sense enough to see he'd take the first chance to hand me the double-cross.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • Well, then, would it be bad to play false with an escaped felon—to double-cross him?

    Tom Slade at Temple Camp Percy K. Fitzhugh
  • "Beasley, he was giving you the double-cross," cut in Bo Rayner's cool voice.

  • Tried to double-cross me, and in the rough-and-tumble that followed he was more or less banged up.

    The Pagan Madonna Harold MacGrath
  • If Lafe thought he could double-cross him in that manner, he had a few things to learn.

    The Sheriff of Badger George B. Pattullo
  • With which short, but sure, wire-pulling Mr. Vandeford opened his campaign to double-cross his own original plans.

    Blue-grass and Broadway Maria Thompson Daviess
  • It didn't seem possible that Bridge could be going to double-cross him.

    The Mucker Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Tried to double-cross me with a friend—but one that counted!

    The Salamander Owen Johnson
  • You threw me down and gave me the double-cross the other day, and now I've come back at you.

    The Price Francis Lynde
British Dictionary definitions for double-cross


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

double cross

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