Criss Cross

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Criss Cross : Phrases


Something is repeatedly crossed.


The field is
criss-crossed by cart tracks.


Originally it related to a Chriss-cross or Christ-cross and referred to the alphabet in a Hornbook, which had a cross like a Maltese cross at the beginning and end. The emphasis today is more in the sense of crossing a barrier or hurdle in an undisciplined way, not the neat and orderly manner of a Hornbook.

A Hornbook was a thin board about 9"x 5" with a handle. It served as a backing for a sheet of vellum or paper on which was written or printed the alphabet, the Lord's prayer, an exorcism or Roman numerals. The whole was covered by a piece of transparent horn. The handle had a hole so that it could be tied to a schoolchild's belt. Such books were still in use in England in the 18th century.

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