cross-purpose

noun
cross-pur·​pose | \ ˈkrȯs-ˈpər-pəs How to pronounce cross-purpose (audio) \

Definition of cross-purpose

: a purpose usually unintentionally contrary to another purpose of oneself or of someone or something else usually used in pluralthe two were always working at cross-purposes

First Known Use of cross-purpose

1668, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cross-purpose

Time Traveler for cross-purpose

Time Traveler

The first known use of cross-purpose was in 1668

See more words from the same year

Statistics for cross-purpose

Cite this Entry

“Cross-purpose.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cross-purpose. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

Comments on cross-purpose

What made you want to look up cross-purpose? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!