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This month's guest word is cross-country [ME from L crux and contrata - literally 'contrary crotch'

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By one who thinks etymology is all about insects

This month’s guest word is cross-country [ME from L crux and contrata – literally ‘contrary crotch’, and we’ve all come across one of those]. The expression has been twisted and abused by cyclists in more ways than they have brain cells. It can be used as a proper noun, for example:
Cross Country (n): Belgium
Or, on second thoughts, perhaps that should read:
Cross Country (n): Malta.

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Properly describes a cyclist who rides across country (that is all mountain bikers) but has been expropriated by a group of (usually) failed roadies who dress in frightfully gay coloured lycra and are in mountain biking purely to race. They bring a single-minded pursuit of pots into mountain biking which is resented by some. Hence:
Cross-country racer: Crapey jeyboy nobe(tm).

To go cross-country (adv): To proceed to ones objective as directly as possibly without following roads. Although some insist it means:
Ride cross-country: To ride from East to West (or vice versa). Those who ride North to South are said to be riding ‘along country’.

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Often abbreviated to XC, which gives it an entirely different meaning:
XC (roman numerals) = 90
The answer to life, the universe and everything: 42
Conclusion: Cross country riders aren’t even close.