What Does the Term Criss-Cross Mean and How Did it Originate in the 16th Century?

School children in the sixteenth century worked lessons on a thin wooden board that hung from their belts.

On it were printed the alphabet, the numbers, and the Lord’s Prayer.

Because it was preceded by a Maltese cross the alphabet was called the Christ-cross-row.

Students reciting from the board always began with the prayer, “Christ’s cross be my speed.”

Two centuries later, Christ’s cross had become “criss-cross.”

Eventually, the term criss-cross evolved to mean back and forth.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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