What’s the meaning of cross in this sentence:

She had a very stern face and Harry’s first thought was that this was not someone to cross.

2 Answers 2


Per the OED, it means:

14. fig. a. To thwart, oppose, go counter to.

Such as in this citation given there:

  • 1876 F. E. Trollope Charming Fellow I. xi. 149,
    I never cross her, or talk to her much when she is not feeling well.

To go or act against someone. To act in an unexpected treasonous manner. To to fail someone's trust by damaging that person.

Source or etymology: I have two educated guesses.

  1. To stand in the way of someone. therefore, crossing him and impeding his "flow."

  2. To act in a treasonous manner as the people guilty of Christ ending up on a cross.

Like I said these are educaded guesses from a retired linguist.

  • Welcome to SE ELU. Linguistics are always welcome here, but new users should really take the trouble to acquaint themselves with how this site works, in the first instance by finishing reading the Tour. In general “educated guesses” are still regarded as guesses, and we expect answers to provide more than that. Checking the historical instances of usage with the OED can provide useful context, for example. Have you access to that?
    – David
    Jan 21 at 20:03

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