• WordNet 3.6
    • n cross-purpose a contrary aim "at cross-purposes"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • cross-purpose A conversational game, in which questions and answers are made so as to involve ludicrous combinations of ideas.
    • cross-purpose A counter or opposing purpose; a contrary aim; hence, that which is inconsistent or contradictory.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n cross-purpose An opposing or counter purpose; a conflicting intention or plan; a plan or course of action running counter to the plan or course of action purposed by another: most frequently in the plural: as, they are pursuing cross-purposes.
    • n cross-purpose plural A sort of conversational game; a game of words or phrases used at random.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Cross-purpose a contrary purpose: contradictory conduct or system: an enigmatical game
    • ***


At cross purposes - When people are at cross purposes, they misunderstand each other or have different or opposing objectives.


In literature:

His brother purposed to bring his wife to Manor Cross in May, when he would be up in London.
"Is He Popenjoy?" by Anthony Trollope
She felt herself at cross-purposes with her foolish little world.
"Love and Lucy" by Maurice Henry Hewlett
This very night I sent for you, that this game of cross-purposes might have an end.
"Mabel's Mistake" by Ann S. Stephens
If I cross your path often, it must be for a purpose not yet revealed to either of us.
"Carmen Ariza" by Charles Francis Stocking
And what would you say," he went on, "if I had come up here on purpose to cross yours?
"The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson" by Robert Louis Stevenson
Here was a cross section of the Allied Armies, all of them with but one purpose.
"Aces Up" by Covington Clarke
It seemed as though we tugged thus at cross purposes for an hour.
"Gold" by Stewart White
At the breakfast, accordingly, it soon appeared we were at cross-purposes.
"The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 11 (of 25)" by Robert Louis Stevenson
The cross purposes of her relations to the two old sisters were an entanglement of perplexities.
"When Ghost Meets Ghost" by William Frend De Morgan
His every movement bred fear; his veriest word could bring ruin to any one who dared cross his purposes.
"History of the Great American Fortunes, Vol. I" by Myers Gustavus

In poetry:

Then I think of a dream I cherished,
Of a purpose that was crossed,
And a far-off fading sweetness
That my own dim life has lost.
"I Weary To-Night, I Weary" by Alexander Anderson
The pain that spared us sorer hurt,
The wish denied, the purpose crossed,
And pleasure's fond occasions lost,
Were mercies to our small desert.
"The Reunion" by John Greenleaf Whittier
Indoors ancestral curse-cum-blessing. Outdoors
The empty bowl of heaven, the empty deep.
Indoors a purposeful man who talks at cross
Purposes, to himself, in a broken sleep.
"House On A Cliff" by Louis MacNeice
All hail to Mr Murphy, he is a hero brave,
That has crossed the mighty Atlantic wave,
For what purpose let me pause and think-
I answer, to warn the people not to taste strong drink.
"A Tribute to Mr Murphy and the Blue Ribbon Army" by William Topaz McGonagall

In news:

Reyann Legarreta, a seventh-grader at Greenwood Middle School, works on signs for the Pennies for a Purpose fundraiser for American Red Cross.
Deficit-cutting 'super committee' and Obama jobs plan don't have to work at cross purposes.
" Steeples have been used for that very purpose, pointing people to the cross," he said.
Over the years at Olivetti, he noticed that sales and service often worked at cross-purposes.
"Heartbreaker": Romain Duris and Vanessa Paradis are at cross-purposes.
Syrian rebels at cross purposes.

In science:

For purposes of illustration we only consider here the sensitivity of the cross sections to one of the anomalous parameters, a0 , since this one has the highest sensitivity.
Anomalous triple and quartic gauge boson couplings
The terms with coefficients α1i , α4i , α5i and α6i make contributions to the elastic scattering cross section that are velocity-dependent, and may be neglected for our purposes.
Theoretical Aspects of Dark Matter Detection
In the longer run, the forward special-purpose detectors BTeV [131,132] and LHCb [133] will be designed to take advantage of the relatively large hadronic b production cross section while suppressing backgrounds.
Conference Summary (5th Int. Conf. on Hyperons, Charm, and Beauty Hadrons)
Each graduate student writes his own code for the manipulation of the data and backgrounds — code that is used only for the purpose of one analysis, and therefore validated only to a limited extent through the obvious cross-checks that are performed in order to justify the results obtained.
Quaero: Motivation, Summary, Status
To this purpose, using Fig.1, we fix the temperature so that the horizontal line will cross the phase boundary within the concentration range just mentioned.
From Ginzburg-Landau to Hilbert-Einstein via Yamabe