at cross purposes

Idiom Definition

"at cross purposes"

to (usually unintentionally) be in opposition;

to have differing ideas or intentions

Idiom Definition - at cross purpose


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - at cross purpose

The managers of different departments of a company are talking ...

Bill: What have you been working on lately?

Fred: Increasing production. And you?

Bill: Our department has been working on reducing inventory.

Fred: Well, unless the sales department is boosting sales, then we are working at cross purposes.

Bill: It would seem that way.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - at cross purpose

Two women are talking ...

Joan: I was trying to get a wine stain out of the carpet yesterday.

Susan: Oh, did you buy a new carpet? I know you'd been thinking of getting one.

Joan: No. I didn't buy a new carpet. I spilled some wine on the old one.

Susan: Well, that's OK then. You can buy a new one.

Joan: But I don't want a new carpet just now. I want to get the stain out of this carpet.

Susan: I heard that Carpet Mart is having a sale this weekend ...

Joan: I think that we're talking at cross purposes here.

Susan: Really?

at cross purposes - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   211   click for frequency by country

at cross purposes - Gerund Form:

Talking at cross purposes can be frustrating.

Working at cross purposes can be even more frustrating.

at cross purposes - Examples:

1)  Very infrequently legal duties will be at cross purposes with stakeholder interest.

2)  Sometimes directors and actors work at cross purposes, causing a film to be disjointed and aimless.

3) We are not working in indifference to or at cross purposes with the practical strivings of a common humanity. 

4) Some of these antics and working at cross purposes would be kind of funny in a Keystone Kop kind of way. 

5) It is as though the Vancouver's ruling Vision party is working at cross purposes with itself. 

6)  Any further discussion would simply involve us talking at cross purposes, and I have no desire to waste my time or yours.

7)  Simple misunderstanding, talking at cross purposes. Very unusual for an invited guest on a radio show.

8)  We are talking at cross purposes. I am talking about respecting peoples customs and norms in their own country.

9)  After all if a group is talking at cross purposes it's frustrating at best and rarely gets much done.

10)  Buddhism because it can become so domesticated, often seems to act at cross purposes to the actual practice of Buddhism.

11)  What do you mean mice? I think we must be talking at cross purposes. Mice to me mean the little white furry things with the cheese fixation.

12)  Discussion in the absence of definition is more often than not discussion at cross purposes.

13)  Some of their rules, customs and traditions work at cross purposes to their stated intentions.

14) They seem to have portions of their Media department operating at cross purposes

15)  But for decades, government and foreign donors have worked at cross purposes.

16) The novel is full of instances of self-deception and people interacting at cross purposes

17)  First, federal dictates that are at cross purposes (sound familiar) should be viewed warily.

18)  Yet at other times Eisenstein speaks of cognition and the emotions as being at cross purposes.

19)  We've all been working at cross purposes for too long, accidentally fragmenting Markdown while popularizing it.

20)  Pandering can set parts of the base at cross purposes while scaremongering has to be credible to be effective.