cross one's fingers

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From the notion in Christianity of inconspicuously making a sign of the cross as an invocation to God.


cross one's fingers (third-person singular simple present crosses one's fingers, present participle crossing one's fingers, simple past and past participle crossed one's fingers)

  1. To put the middle finger across the index finger, especially:
    She was seen crossing her fingers in the wedding photo.
    1. when wishing for luck, or
      I hope everything turns out OK. I'll cross my fingers for you. / I'll cross my fingers that everything turns out OK.
      • 2011, Jayne Addison, About That Kiss[1], ISBN 1459272714:
        Cross your fingers that the readership loves it.” Joy crossed her fingers.
      • 2011, Bette Greene, Get On Out of Here, Philip Hall[2], ISBN 1453225870:
        Well, I reckon that all of us Singing Glenways ain't crossing our fingers for you.
      • 2012, Anne Holt; Tom Geddes, Blind Goddess[3], ISBN 1451634765:
        With another huge effort he grabbed the bucket hook again, mentally crossing his fingers for the bolts in the thin plywood to hold.
    2. when telling a lie (and attempting to escape the moral and other consequence of that lie).
      • 2007, Toni White, Ridge Street Home[4], ISBN 1430316152, page 5:
        Amanda placed her right hand behind her back and crossed her fingers. Her friend Sarah told her if you cross your fingers behind your back when you tell a lie, it's not a lie. Amanda didn't know if she believed that, but she crossed her fingers anyway.
      • 2011, Carsen Taite, Nothing But the Truth[5], ISBN 1602824983:
        “You focus your efforts on managing your prosecutors and show up to try that case. I'll handle the rest.” Ryan nodded assent but crossed her fingers behind her back. She would do more than just show up.
      • 2014, Millie Criswell, Staying Single[6], ISBN 1460369858:
        “It's not like I've been having fun,” she lied, crossing her fingers behind her back.
      • 2014, Frank Sousa, The Tree of Young Dreamers[7], ISBN 1493176102, page 313:
        He always tried to make sure there wasn't a mirror behind him when he made a promise, and if there was and he couldn't cross his fingers, he just crossed them in his mind and hoped this was as good as the real thing.
      • 1969, Phyllis McCallum, The Vanilla Viking A Three-Act Play for Children[8], page 37:
        AFTON: (CROSSING HER FINGERS) I always tell the truth. See for yourself. From the men's doorway you can see that the fjord is empty.


  • 2012, Sally Falcon, A Forever Man[9], ISBN 1609289897, page 39:
    For a moment, he thought he might have to cross his fingers for good measure. “Okay,” she finally said, allowing him to breathe again. “I see your point — but platonic friends.” This time he did cross his fingers, for a different reason. “No problem. We'll just be shipboard buddies, that's all.”

Related terms[edit]