mo·​to·​cross ˈmō-tō-ˌkrȯs How to pronounce motocross (audio)
variants or less commonly motorcross
plural motocrosses also motorcrosses
: a closed-course motorcycle race over natural or simulated rough terrain (as with steep inclines, hairpin turns, and mud)
… has brought in some 75,000 visitors during the past six months. They have come to participate in such activities as square dance contests, Highland games and motocrosses.Judith Segal and Linn Varney
also : the sport of engaging in motocross races
If you think racing motocross is a tough sport now—just take yourself back 30 years to the early '70s. Dirt Rider
Motocross began around 1914 as a form of relaxation for employees at an English motorcycle factory. It became an international sport in the '50s, mainly in Europe. In the '70s, it took root in America, particularly in Southern California. Tracy Young
This versatile space seats 12,000 people for events ranging from basketball to motorcross and world-class ice skating. Steve Womersley and Rachel Neustein
In a return for the first event this summer, motocross enthusiasts will once again be able to race at the Taber Motorsports Park this coming weekend. Cole Parkinson

Examples of motocross in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Coleman started in motocross, then teamed with his sister to become a world champion and two-time U.K. champ in P1 Powerboat. J. George Gorant, Robb Report, 9 May 2024 Johnson became a motocross teammate of Muncey’s son Edward, and got to know Bill Muncey’s successor driver, Chip Hanauer, in the Atlas Van Lines — a revolutionary cab-over, championship design that dominated the sport in the late ‘70s and ‘80s. Bill Center, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Apr. 2024 Focused mainly for off-road racing, the Redshift MX competed against, and even beat, traditional motocross machines. Tim Stevens, WIRED, 19 Aug. 2023 When halftime ended, motocross bikers rocketed up a thin ramp and performed midair stunts. Paul McAdory, New York Times, 6 Feb. 2024 Champion bodybuilder Chad McCrary, who continued competing after a 2005 motocross accident left him paralyzed, has died. Natasha Dye, Peoplemag, 18 Jan. 2024 We are also joined on the ride by Yamaha ambassadors and former motocross and supercross champions Damon Bradshaw and Ryan Villopot. Bill Roberson, Robb Report, 3 Jan. 2024 The award was determined by a panel of independent judges, including nautical designer Dan Lenard of Nuvolari Lenard Designs, Captain Kerry of Below Deck Adventure, Nascar legend Michael Waltrip, and former motocross great Ricky Carmichael. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 30 Oct. 2023 Back when motocross racers (and movie stars who raced) wore wool jackets and primitive helmets (if even that), Triumph was a force to be reckoned with out in the dirt. William Roberson, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023

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

Word History


motocross borrowed from French, from moto "motorcycle" (short for motocyclette) + cross-country "racecourse laid out over open country" (borrowed from English cross-country entry 1); motorcross altered from motocross by conformation to motor entry 1

First Known Use

1951, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of motocross was in 1951

Dictionary Entries Near motocross

Cite this Entry

“Motocross.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


mo·​to·​cross ˈmōt-ō-ˌkrȯs How to pronounce motocross (audio)
: a motorcycle race over a course laid out on rough terrain
also : the sport of motocross racing

More from Merriam-Webster on motocross

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