Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cross n.1

[abbr. SE double-cross]

1. [19C] constr. with the, anything deceitful or dishonest.

2. [19C+] (also crossing) a trick, a deception; also attrib.

3. [mid-19C] in sports, e.g. boxing, the deliberate losing of a fight, a race etc, on payment of a bribe.

4. [mid-19C] (UK Und.) the underworld.

5. [mid-19C] (UK Und.) an unfortunate experience.

6. [1910s] an informer.

7. [1950s+] constr. with a/the, a double-cross.

In compounds

cross-trade (n.)

[early 19C] (Aus. Und.) criminality.

In phrases

cop on the cross (v.)

[late 19C] (UK Und.) to discover that someone is cheating, usu. by using cunning or deception oneself.

cut the cross (v.)

[mid-19C] (Und.) to retire from crime, to ‘go straight’.

go the cross (v.)

to work as a criminal.

in a cross

[1950s–60s] (US black) in trouble, at a disadvantage; usu. in the phr. put in a cross, to put into a difficult situation.

on the cross [early 19C–1910s]

1. surreptitiously, illegally.

2. working as a professional criminal.

3. dishonest.

come the cross (on) (v.)

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) to cheat.

pull a cross on (v.)

[1950s+] to double-cross.

put the cross on (v.)

1. [late 19C–1945s] to double-cross, to cheat.

2. [1930s] to mark for death [a cross placed, lit. or fig., against the victim’s name].

shake the cross (v.)

[late 19C] to give up thieving.