Caught in the crosshairs or cross hairs

Caught in the crosshairs or cross hairs is an idiom that is less than 100 years old. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom caught in the crosshairs or cross hairs, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Caught in the crosshairs or cross hairs means to be a target for criticism or attack. Someone who is caught in the crosshairs or cross hairs is the subject of negative attention. The expression caught in the crosshairs or cross hairs came into use in the mid-20th century and alludes to the crosshairs or cross hairs in a gun sight that must align when aiming at a target. Caught in the crosshairs is generally considered to be the British spelling; caught in the cross hairs is generally considered to be the American spelling, though the word is sometimes seen hyphenated as cross-hairs.

Examples

Sedgwick County Assistant District Attorneys Kari Burks and Justin Edwards contended Slaughter was inadvertently caught in the cross hairs of a long-standing gang rivalry between Fortiz and a friend who went with him to the Rumba Latina Club to pick up a forgotten debit card on Feb. 2, 2019. (Wichita Eagle)

Meanwhile, as the UK and the European Union try to hammer out a Brexit deal in the next three weeks, Ahmad said that he did not expect Jamaica to get caught in the cross hairs. (Jamaica Gleaner)

Pilloried for his failed stint as Brazil’s health minister and caught in the crosshairs of a Senate probe on the pandemic, General Eduardo Pazuello sought refuge last week before a friendly audience at a political rally in Rio de Janeiro. (Reuters)