cross-purpose

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See also: cross purpose

English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Attested (in the plural form) since the 1660s, originally meaning ‘contradictory intentions.’[1]

Noun[edit]

cross-purpose (plural cross-purposes)

  1. (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.
  2. (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?)

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ cross” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2017.