cross-ex·​am·​i·​na·​tion ˈkrȯs-ig-ˌza-mə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce cross-examination (audio)
: the examination of a witness who has already testified in order to check or discredit the witness's testimony, knowledge, or credibility compare direct examination
cross-examine verb
cross-examiner noun

Examples of cross-examination in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Bowles argued that the interview included exculpatory material that could have been used on cross-examination. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 15 Apr. 2024 But during cross-examination, Powell said Tammy Daybell was taking medication for the bruising before her death. Alex Brizee, Idaho Statesman, 15 Apr. 2024 So the day of the cross-examination was one where Schwartz arrived at the courthouse at 4 a.m. Allie Garfinkle, Fortune, 29 Mar. 2024 Both days of testimony and cross-examination were marked by combative exchanges. Josh Meyer, USA TODAY, 15 Mar. 2024 On cross-examination by the defense, Detective Lt. Timothy Willis, who had read the journal entries to the jury, agreed that no evidence shows that James Crumbley ever saw those journal entries. Gina Kaufman, Detroit Free Press, 12 Mar. 2024 The cross-examination mainly consisted of Griffin and Swansburg reading documents. Eleanor McCrary, The Courier-Journal, 26 Feb. 2024 The lawyer for the shooter's father attacked that claim on Day 3 of James Crumbley's involuntary manslaughter trial during her cross-examination of a school counselor who had met with the shooter twice before the massacre, including the day before. Gina Kaufman, Detroit Free Press, 12 Mar. 2024 Farber, the judge on the case, concluded that Henley had used his attorney-client privilege to evade a thorough cross-examination and criticized the district attorney’s office for failing to thoroughly investigate the case before bringing charges. Daniel Wu, Washington Post, 7 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cross-examination.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1707, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cross-examination was circa 1707

Dictionary Entries Near cross-examination

Cite this Entry

“Cross-examination.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Apr. 2024.

Legal Definition


: the examination of a witness who has already testified in order to check or discredit the witness's testimony, knowledge, or credibility see also confrontation clause compare direct examination, recross-examination, redirect examination

Note: In accordance with Rule 611 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, cross-examination should only refer to matters that were covered during direct examination or that are relevant to the witness's credibility. Anything exceeding these limits is permissible at the court's discretion. Leading questions are also ordinarily allowed on cross-examination under Rule 611.

cross-examine verb
cross-examiner noun

More from Merriam-Webster on cross-examination

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