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See also: cross purpose
Attested (in the plural form) since the 1660s, originally meaning ‘contradictory intentions.’
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cross-purpose (plural cross-purposes)
- (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.
contrary purpose or understanding
- ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “cross”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.