I read the following caption:

The narrow gauge train often crisscrosses the street

enter image description here

What's the difference between “crisscross" and “cross" this context?

  • 5
    That is written by a non-native speaker. A train cannot crisscross a street. His name is given when you click through. He is probably Indian or Pakistani.
    – Lambie
    May 29 at 23:47
  • 4
    @Lambie It looks like that train is crisscrossing the street to me. It's starting one one side of the road, it goes to the other side, and probably crosses back over to go along the original side of the road.
    – nick012000
    May 30 at 7:18
  • 6
    Crisscrossing does not require 90 degree angles. The word as it is really used in English makes no statement about a specific geometric angle.
    – barbecue
    May 30 at 19:57
  • 3
    @Lambie What makes you think that someone called Michael Janich who was born in Germany (and whose full bio you clicked through) would be Indian or Pakistani, and for that matter, what makes you so sure that an Indian or Pakistani can't be native to a country that speaks English? May 30 at 21:03
  • 5
    @Lambie You don't need right angles or intersections to crisscross a road. For instance, a heavily drunk person could "crisscross" a road by staggering down it, crossing repeatedly from one side to the other in an erratic fashion.
    – nick012000
    May 31 at 1:44

From Strongdar on Reddit:

In that context, crisscross would tell you that it crosses the street repeatedly, in a back and forth sort of manner. Cross would just mean it goes over the street once.

  • 4
    There seems to be a lot of confusion in the answers and comments: the definition here for crisscross is correct, but the word is (almost certainly) being used incorrectly in the context. I'd say that crisscross is a nice example of a frequentative English verb. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frequentative
    – dbmag9
    May 30 at 12:37
  • @dbmag9 "the word is (almost certainly) being used incorrectly in the context. " -> see this comment: "This Wikipedia page has a map that suggests the train does crisscross a road: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darjeeling_Himalayan_Railway?wprov=sfti1Todd Wilcox May 31 at 2:44
  • No, it does not crisscross a road. It snakes across the road.
    – Lambie
    Jun 2 at 16:15


a pattern of intersecting straight lines or paths.
"the crisscross of wrinkles on his face"

Oxford Dictionaries via Google

If you crisscross a street, you create an abstract pattern of intersecting straight lines as you go across and then return to the same side, several times.

Cross is just once; She crossed the street.

She crisscrossed the street. = She went back and forth several times across the street.


If you remove the white space between those two lines of x's, that is a crisscross pattern.


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