plural noun

cross·​bones ˈkrȯs-ˌbōnz How to pronounce crossbones (audio)
: two leg or arm bones placed or depicted crosswise compare skull and crossbones

Examples of crossbones in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web These cheeky dress socks feature Acne's signature indifferent logo in a skull and crossbones motif. Men's Health, 21 Feb. 2023 The launch sparked outrage as the company promoted the J.V. death machine with cartoon skulls and crossbones stylized as boys and girls. Prem Thakker, The New Republic, 17 Jan. 2023 Symbols of skulls and crossbones appeared on some, but not all, of these bottles; warning labels didn’t become consistent until the 1960s. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 1 Sep. 2022 Instead of crowded beaches with holiday-makers, Ukraine’s southern coast is eerily empty save for skull-and-crossbones warning signs. Time, 27 Sep. 2022 There were skull-and-crossbones warnings at the edge of the forest. George Packer, The Atlantic, 6 Sep. 2022 The cans, covered with a skull-and-crossbones logo, are filled with water from the Swiss Alps. Rachel Wolfe, WSJ, 19 Aug. 2022 It’s the kind of place where people paper over their windows with skull-and-crossbones flags, where beer bottles sag in the creek bed. Katherine Laidlaw, Wired, 9 Sep. 2021 The McQueen lily brooch in antique silver not only looks slightly past its prime, but also, on close inspection, as noted by the New York gem dealer and jewelry historian Benjamin Zucker, has minuscule skulls and crossbones atop its pistils. New York Times, 24 Mar. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'crossbones.' 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

1686, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of crossbones was in 1686

Dictionary Entries Near crossbones

Cite this Entry

“Crossbones.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


noun plural
cross·​bones -ˌbōnz How to pronounce crossbones (audio)
: two leg or arm bones placed or pictured as lying across each other
skull and crossbones

More from Merriam-Webster on crossbones

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