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crux, ŭcis, f. (m., Enn. ap. Non. p. 195, 13; Gracch. ap. Fest. s. v. masculino, p. 150, 24, and 151, 12 Müll.) [perh. kindred with circus].

I. Lit.

A. In gen., a tree, frame, or other wooden instruments of execution, on which criminals were impaled or hanged, Sen. Prov. 3, 10; Cic. Rab. Perd. 3, 10 sqq.—

B. In partic., a cross, Ter. And. 3, 5, 15; Cic. Verr. 2, 1, 3, 7; 2, 1, 4, 9; id. Pis. 18, 42; id. Fin. 5, 30, 92; Quint. 4, 2, 17; Tac. A. 15, 44; Hor. S. 1, 3, 82; 2, 7, 47; id. Ep. 1, 16, 48 et saep.: dignus fuit qui malo cruce periret, Gracch. ap. Fest. l. l.: pendula, the pole of a carriage, Stat. S. 4, 3, 28. —

II. Transf.

A. As a term of reproach, a gallows bird, a hempen rascal, Plaut. Pers. 5, 2, 17.—

B. Transf., torture, trouble, misery, destruction, etc. (so most freq. in Plaut. and Ter., and in the former esp. freq. in connection with mala): aliqua mala crux, tormentor (of a prostitute), Plaut. Aul. 3, 5, 48; cf.: illae cruces, Ter. Eun. 2, 3, 92: quae te mala crux agitat? what tormentor troubles you? Plaut. Bacch. 4, 2, 2: abstraxit hominem in maximam malam crucem, id. Men. prol. 66: quaerere in malo crucem, Ter. Phorm. 3, 3, 11.—Prov.: summum jus antiqui summam putabant crucem, Col. 1, 7, 2.—Hence, in colloq. lang.: I (abi, etc.) in malam crucem! go to the devil! go and be hanged! Plaut. Cas. 3, 5, 17; id. Ps. 3, 2, 57; 4, 7, 86 al.; Ter. Phorm. 2, 3, 21; cf.: Cy. Num quid vis? Me. Ut eas maximam in malam crucem, Plaut. Men. 2, 2, 53; id. Capt. 3, 1, 9.—Without mala: I in crucem, Plaut. As. 5, 2, 91.—And ellipt.: in malam crucem! Plaut. Cas. 5, 4, 8; id. Ps. 5, 2, 5. —Hence, Ital. croce; Fr. croix.