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(krôs′pûr′pəs, krŏs′-)
A usually unintentionally conflicting or contrary purpose.
at cross-purposes
Pursuing conflicting or contrary goals, usually unintentionally: We're working at cross-purposes.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. a contrary aim or purpose
2. at cross-purposes conflicting; opposed; disagreeing
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


an opposing or contrary purpose.
at cross-purposes, in a way that involves mutual misunderstanding or produces mutual frustrations, usu. unintentionally.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.cross-purpose - a contrary aim; "at cross-purposes"
aim, intent, intention, purpose, design - an anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions; "his intent was to provide a new translation"; "good intentions are not enough"; "it was created with the conscious aim of answering immediate needs"; "he made no secret of his designs"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
You and I are at cross-purposes. If you like, you shall have the truth from me."
We were at cross-purposes. But, before I could reply, he showed me an open manuscript on his table, and said, in a more serious tone, "Here, M.
Horror smote her to the heart, for even she began to suspect that they were at cross-purposes, and that she had commenced her mission by some hideous blunder.
Clifford saw, it may be, in the mirror of his deeper consciousness, that he was an example and representative of that great class of people whom an inexplicable Providence is continually putting at cross-purposes with the world: breaking what seems its own promise in their nature; withholding their proper food, and setting poison before them for a banquet; and thus--when it might so easily, as one would think, have been adjusted otherwise--making their existence a strangeness, a solitude, and torment.
They speak at cross-purposes and irreverently at one another.
RD OF Redditch appears to be at cross-purposes concerning his reference to Carl Chinn MBE's statement relating to 1,000 as opposed to Larry Lamb's 1001 trades, and of whom supposedly is right and correct?