Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
See also: cross purpose
Attested (in the plural form) since the 1660s, originally meaning ‘contradictory intentions.’
- (idiomatic) A contrary or conflicting purpose or understanding, especially an unintentional or misconceived one.
- We are working at cross-purposes here, if you're trying to reduce the count and I'm trying to increase it.
- (dated) A conversational game, in which questions and answers are made so as to involve ludicrous combinations of ideas.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Samuel Pepys to this entry?)