Understanding the Idiom: "cross to take up" - Meaning, Origins, and Usage

Idiom language: English

The idiom “cross to take up” is a commonly used expression in English language. It refers to the act of accepting a challenge or responsibility that requires great effort, sacrifice, or risk. The phrase has its roots in religious contexts where it was used as a metaphor for following Jesus Christ’s path of self-sacrifice and devotion.

In contemporary usage, the idiom is often employed in various settings such as business, politics, sports, and personal relationships. It conveys the idea of making a bold move or taking a leap of faith towards achieving one’s goals despite the obstacles and uncertainties.

This article aims to provide an overview of the idiom “cross to take up” by exploring its origins, meanings, and usage in different contexts. We will examine how this expression has evolved over time and analyze its significance in modern-day communication.

Through this discussion, readers will gain a deeper understanding of how this idiom can be applied in their own lives to overcome challenges and pursue their dreams with courage and determination.

Origins and Historical Context of the Idiom “cross to take up”

The idiom “cross to take up” has been used for centuries in English language, but its origins are not entirely clear. However, it is believed that this phrase has religious connotations and was first used in the Bible.

The Religious Meaning

In Christianity, the term “cross” refers to the wooden cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. The act of carrying one’s own cross is a metaphor for accepting one’s own suffering or burdens as part of God’s plan. This concept is often associated with self-sacrifice, humility, and faith.

The Historical Context

During medieval times, people were more familiar with religious concepts and phrases than they are today. It was common for writers and speakers to use biblical references in their works. As a result, idioms like “cross to take up” became popular expressions that conveyed deep meaning without requiring lengthy explanations.

Over time, this idiom evolved beyond its original religious context and began to be used more broadly. Today it can refer to any situation where someone accepts responsibility or takes on a difficult task willingly.

Usage and Variations of the Idiom “cross to take up”

The idiom “cross to take up” is a commonly used phrase that has several variations in its usage. It can be used in various contexts, such as in personal relationships, business dealings, or even political situations. The meaning of this idiom varies depending on the context it is used in.

In personal relationships, the idiom “cross to take up” can mean taking responsibility for one’s actions or decisions. For example, if someone makes a mistake and causes harm to their partner, they may need to cross to take up their mistake and make amends.

In business dealings, the idiom “cross to take up” can refer to accepting challenges or responsibilities that come with a particular job or project. For instance, if an employee is given a new project at work that requires extra effort and time commitment, they may need to cross to take up the challenge.

In politics, the idiom “cross to take up” can mean taking a stand on an issue or supporting a particular cause. Politicians often use this phrase when they want their supporters or colleagues to join them in advocating for something important.

Synonyms, Antonyms, and Cultural Insights for the Idiom “cross to take up”


– Commit oneself

– Take on

– Embrace

– Adopt

– Undertake

These words all convey a sense of making a firm decision or taking responsibility for something. They can be used interchangeably with “cross to take up” in certain contexts.


– Abandon

– Reject

– Refuse

– Renounce

These words represent the opposite of “cross to take up”. They suggest backing out of a commitment or refusing to take on responsibility.

Cultural Insights:

The phrase “crossing oneself” is common in many cultures as a gesture of religious devotion. In some cases, it may also symbolize making a vow or promise. This cultural association may influence how people interpret the idiom “cross to take up”.

In Western culture, crossing one’s fingers is often done as a superstitious gesture for good luck. However, it can also signify hoping for success when taking on a new challenge or commitment.

Practical Exercises for the Idiom “cross to take up”

Exercise 1: Fill in the Blank

  • The new employee ___________ his old job to work at the new company.
  • I had to ___________ my plans when I found out about the family emergency.
  • She decided to ___________ her passion for music and pursue a career as a singer.

Exercise 2: Role Play

  1. Pair up with a partner and come up with a scenario where one person has decided to “cross to take up” something new, while the other person tries to convince them not to. Practice using this idiom in your conversation.
  2. In another scenario, switch roles and have the other person be the one who wants to “cross to take up” something new.

Exercise 3: Writing Prompt

Pick a topic or interest that you are passionate about but have never pursued seriously. Write a short essay on why you want to “cross over and take it up” as a serious hobby or career path. Use examples of people who have successfully made similar transitions, if possible, and incorporate the idiom into your writing.

These exercises can help you gain confidence in using this idiomatic expression correctly. Keep practicing until it becomes second nature!

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using the Idiom “cross to take up”

When using idioms in English, it’s important to understand their meanings and usage. The idiom “cross to take up” is no exception. However, even with a good understanding of the idiom, there are common mistakes that people make when using it.

One mistake is using the idiom too literally. “Cross to take up” does not refer to physically crossing something or someone. It means making a decision or commitment, often involving sacrifice or difficulty.

Another mistake is using the idiom in inappropriate contexts. This idiom is typically used in serious situations where a significant decision must be made. It would not be appropriate to use this idiom when talking about trivial matters.

Using incorrect grammar when using this idiom can also lead to confusion and misinterpretation. For example, saying “I crossed over taking up my new job” instead of “I crossed over TO take up my new job” changes the meaning entirely.

Lastly, assuming that everyone will understand this particular idiom can also lead to misunderstandings. Not all English speakers may be familiar with this phrase, especially those who are learning English as a second language.

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