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to do a thing on the cross
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Cross \Cross\ (kr[o^]s; 115), n. [OE. crois, croys, cros; the former fr. OF. crois, croiz, F. croix, fr. L. crux; the second is perh. directly fr. Prov. cros, crotz. fr. the same L. crux; cf. Icel. kross. Cf. Crucial, Crusade, Cruise, Crux.] [1913 Webster] 1. A gibbet, consisting of two pieces of timber placed transversely upon one another, in various forms, as a T, or +, with the horizontal piece below the upper end of the upright, or as an X. It was anciently used in the execution of criminals. [1913 Webster] Nailed to the cross By his own nation. --Milton. [1913 Webster] 2. The sign or mark of the cross, made with the finger, or in ink, etc., or actually represented in some material; the symbol of Christ's death; the ensign and chosen symbol of Christianity, of a Christian people, and of Christendom. [1913 Webster] The custom of making the sign of the cross with the hand or finger, as a means of conferring blessing or preserving from evil, is very old. --Schaff-Herzog Encyc. [1913 Webster] Before the cross has waned the crescent's ray. --Sir W. Scott. [1913 Webster] Tis where the cross is preached. --Cowper. [1913 Webster] 3. Affiction regarded as a test of patience or virtue; trial; disappointment; opposition; misfortune. [1913 Webster] Heaven prepares a good man with crosses. --B. Jonson. [1913 Webster] 4. A piece of money stamped with the figure of a cross, also, that side of such a piece on which the cross is stamped; hence, money in general. [1913 Webster] I should bear no cross if I did bear you; for I think you have no money in your purse. --Shak. [1913 Webster] 5. An appendage or ornament or anything in the form of a cross; a badge or ornamental device of the general shape of a cross; hence, such an ornament, even when varying considerably from that form; thus, the Cross of the British Order of St. George and St. Michael consists of a central medallion with seven arms radiating from it. [1913 Webster] 6. (Arch.) A monument in the form of a cross, or surmounted by a cross, set up in a public place; as, a market cross; a boundary cross; Charing Cross in London. [1913 Webster] Dun-Edin's Cross, a pillared stone, Rose on a turret octagon. --Sir W. Scott. [1913 Webster] 7. (Her.) A common heraldic bearing, of which there are many varieties. See the Illustration, above. [1913 Webster] 8. The crosslike mark or symbol used instead of a signature by those unable to write. [1913 Webster] Five Kentish abbesses . . . .subscribed their names and crosses. --Fuller. [1913 Webster] 9. Church lands. [Ireland] [Obs.] --Sir J. Davies. [1913 Webster] 10. A line drawn across or through another line. [1913 Webster] 11. Hence: A mixing of breeds or stock, especially in cattle breeding; or the product of such intermixture; a hybrid of any kind. [1913 Webster] Toning down the ancient Viking into a sort of a cross between Paul Jones and Jeremy Diddler. --Lord Dufferin. [1913 Webster] 12. (Surveying) An instrument for laying of offsets perpendicular to the main course. [1913 Webster] 13. (Mech.) A pipe-fitting with four branches the axes of which usually form's right angle. [1913 Webster] Cross and pile, a game with money, at which it is put to chance whether a coin shall fall with that side up which bears the cross, or the other, which is called pile, or reverse; the game called heads or tails. Cross bottony or Cross botton['e]. See under Bottony. Cross estoil['e] (Her.). a cross, each of whose arms is pointed like the ray of a star; that is, a star having four long points only. Cross of Calvary. See Calvary, 3. Southern cross. (Astron.) See under Southern. To do a thing on the cross, to act dishonestly; -- opposed to acting on the square. [Slang] To take up the cross, to bear troubles and afflictions with patience from love to Christ. [1913 Webster]