Etymology
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Words related to crux

cross (n.)

Old English cros "instrument of Christ's crucifixion; symbol of Christianity" (mid-10c.), probably from Old Norse or another Scandinavian source, picked up by the Norse from Old Irish cros, from Latin crux (accusative crucem, genitive crucis) "stake, cross" on which criminals were impaled or hanged (originally a tall, round pole); hence, figuratively, "torture, trouble, misery;" see crux. Also from Latin crux are Italian croce, French croix, Spanish and Portuguese cruz, Dutch kruis, German Kreuz

The modern word is the northern England form and has predominated. Middle English also had two other forms of the same word, arriving from the continent by different paths: cruche, crouche (c. 1200) was from Medieval Latin, with pronunciation as in Italian croce (compare Crouchmas "festival of the Invention of the Cross," late 14c.). Later, especially in southern England, the form crois, croice, from Old French, was the common one (compare croisade, the older form of crusade). The Old English word was rood.

By c. 1200 as "ornamental likeness of the cross, something resembling or in the form of a cross; sign of the cross made with the right hand or with fingers." From mid-14c. as "small cross with a human figure attached; a crucifix;" late 14c. as "outdoor structure or monument in the form of a cross." Also late 14c. as "a cross formed by two lines drawn or cut on a surface; two lines intersecting at right angles; the shape of a cross without regard to religious signification." From late 12c. as a surname.

From c. 1200 in English in the figurative sense "the burden of a Christian; any suffering voluntarily borne for Christ's sake; a trial or affliction; penance in Christ's name," from Matthew x.38, xvi.24, etc. Theological sense "crucifixion and death of Christ as a necessary part of his mission" is from late 14c.

As "a mixing of breeds in the production of animals" from 1760, hence broadly "a mixture of the characteristics of two different things" (1796). In pugilism, 1906, from the motion of the blow, crossing over the opponent's lead (1880s as a verb; cross-counter (n.) is from 1883). As "accidental contact of two wires belonging to different circuits," 1870.

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crucial (adj.)

1706, "cross-shaped, having the form of an X," from French crucial, a medical term for ligaments of the interior of the knee-joint (which cross each other), from Latin crux (genitive crucis) "cross" (see crux).

The meaning "decisive, critical, finally disproving one of two alternative suppositions" (1830) is extended from a logical term, Instantias Crucis, adopted by Francis Bacon (1620); the notion is of cross fingerboard signposts at forking roads, thus a requirement to choose.

cruciate (adj.)

"cross-shaped, having the form of a cross with equal arms," 1826, from Modern Latin cruciatus, from Latin crux (genitive crucis) "cross" (see crux (n.)). Obsolete meaning "tormented" is 1530s, from Latin cruciat-, past participle stem of cruciare "cause pain or anguish to," literally "crucify," from crux. Related: Cruciately; cruciation.

cruciferous (adj.)

"bearing a cross," 1650s, from Late Latin crucifer "cross-bearing," from Latin crux (genitive crucis) "stake, cross" (see crux). Originally in literal senses; botanical use (in reference to a symmetrical arrangement of four petals) is from 1851.

cruciform (adj.)

"cross-shaped," 1660s, from Modern Latin cruciformis, from Latin crux (genitive crucis) "stake, cross" (see crux) + forma "form, shape" (see form (n.)).

crucify (v.)

mid-14c., "to put to death by nailing or otherwise affixing to a cross," from Old French crucifer crucefiier (12c., Modern French crucifier), from Vulgar Latin *crucificare, from Late Latin crucifigere "to fasten to a cross," from cruci, dative of Latin crux "cross" (see crux) + figere "to fasten, fix" (from PIE root *dheigw- "to stick, fix").

An ancient mode of capital punishment considered especially ignominious by the Romans and Greeks and reserved in general for slaves and highway robbers. In scripture, "subdue, mortify" (the flesh, etc.), early 14c. Figurative sense of "to torment" is from 1620s. Related: Crucified; crucifying.

cruciverbalist (n.)

"maker of crossword puzzles," by 1977, mock-Latin, coined in English from Latin cruci-, combining form of crux "cross" (see crux) + verbum "word" (see verb).

crusade (n.)

"military expedition under the banner of the cross," 1706, a respelling or replacement of croisade (1570s), from French croisade (16c.), Spanish cruzada, both from Medieval Latin cruciata, past participle of cruciare "to mark with a cross," from Latin crux (genitive crucis) "cross" (see crux).

The modern English form is comparatively late, and even the earlier croisade is post-Middle English (French croisade replaced earlier croisée). Middle English nouns were croiserie (c. 1300), creiserie.

Especially in reference to the medieval expeditions undertaken by European Christians for recovery of the Holy Land from Muslims. Generally they are counted as seven between 1095 and 1271, but some smaller efforts (e.g. the "Children's Crusade") are omitted and the word sometimes is extended to other religiously motivated expeditions (e.g. against the Albigenses or the Prussians). Figurative sense of "vigorous campaign for a moral cause or against a public evil" is from 1786.

excruciate (v.)

"to torture, torment, inflict very severe pain on," as if by crucifying, 1560s, from Latin excruciatus, past participle of excruciare "to torture, torment, rack, plague;" figuratively "to afflict, harass, vex, torment," from ex "out, out from; thoroughly" (see ex-) + cruciare "cause pain or anguish to," literally "crucify," from crux (genitive crucis) "a cross" (see crux).