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sign of the cross

a movement of the hand to indicate a cross, as from forehead to breast and left shoulder to right or, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, from right shoulder to left.
Origin of sign of the cross
1250-1300; Middle English Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sign of the cross
  • He pulled out his rosary and made the sign of the cross.
  • Her coworker pointed out, in a thick brogue, that she had failed to press the sign of the cross into the top before cooking it.
  • He mentions the sign of the cross used in sacred ordinations and consecrations.
  • He makes the sign of the cross, but it is on the ground and with his left foot.
  • And above all, the sign of the cross to that instrument was to us a great rejoicing, and as it were a certain presage of good.
British Dictionary definitions for sign of the cross

sign of the cross

(mainly RC Church) a gesture in which the right hand is moved from the forehead to the breast and from the left shoulder to the right to describe the form of a cross in order to invoke the grace of Christ
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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sign of the cross in Culture

sign of the cross definition

A ritual gesture common in the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, and Anglican Communion, made at the beginning and end of prayer as a reminder of Jesus' death on the cross. Worshipers make the sign by touching first the forehead, then the breast, and then each shoulder in turn, thus tracing in the air the shape of a cross.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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