Entries linking to crossness
1520s, in part a shortening of across, in part from the adverb (see cross (adv.)). Earliest sense is "falling athwart, lying athwart the main direction, passing from side to side." Meaning "intersecting, lying athwart each other" is from c. 1600.
Sense of "adverse, opposed, obstructing, contrary, opposite" is from 1560s; of persons, "peevish, ill-tempered," from 1630s, probably from the earlier senses of "contrary, athwart," especially with reference to winds and sailing ships. A 19c. emphatic form was cross as two sticks (1807), punning on the verb. Cross-grained is from 1670s of wood; as "opposed in nature or temper" from 1640s.
word-forming element denoting action, quality, or state, attached to an adjective or past participle to form an abstract noun, from Old English -nes(s), from Proto-Germanic *in-assu- (cognates: Old Saxon -nissi, Middle Dutch -nisse, Dutch -nis, Old High German -nissa, German -nis, Gothic -inassus), from *-in-, originally belonging to the noun stem, + *-assu-, abstract noun suffix, probably from the same root as Latin -tudo (see -tude).
updated on May 20, 2018
Dictionary entries near crossness