Cross (characters)

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† ‡
Cross and two-bar cross in Times New Roman font

The character cross , long cross or dagger (†) is a character similar to the Latin cross (✝), but which tapers at the bottom in many fonts . Occasionally there is also the term dagger (based on English dagger ) or obeliscus ( ancient Greek ὀβελίσκος obelískos , German 'small spit' ). The English designation dagger, as well as the designations related to obelisk (e.g. French obèle , Spanish obelisco ) used in Romance-speaking countries , show that the sign is not primarily understood as the form of the Christian cross everywhere . In Unicode it is contained in the block General Punctuation as U + 2020 dagger .


Cross as a footnote mark in a British print from 1839

The cross is used as a footnote symbol if the asterisk has already been used in the same part of the text. However, it can be misunderstood after personal names in contexts in which it is also used to mark the death (especially in the German-speaking area, see below).

In the German-speaking area, the cross also has the following uses:

  • As a symbol to mark the deceased, either to indicate the age or to mark the year of death, in connection with the asterisk often also to indicate the date of birth and death (example: * October 15, 1910; † April 20, 1990).
See also: Genealogical symbols (especially for combinations with the cross, such as "† *", "* †", "††" or "† X")
  • In timetables as an indicator for "on Sundays and public holidays".
  • In the notation of a game of chess, the cross is often used for chess bid, the two-bar cross for checkmate .
  • In mathematical formulas as a variant of the identification of an adjoint matrix .
  • In 1855, the discoverer of the asteroid (37) Fides suggested a “sign of a cross” as an astronomical symbol for this, which was shown in the original print with round and drop-shaped widened ends.


The sign of the cross was already before Christ's death z. B. used as a character on coins, but it was spread with Christianity . Based on the cross-like Christ symbol staurogram , the science of the different forms of the cross sign is called staurology . Johann Christoph Gatterer wrote in 1798 that Christians believed that “without the sign of the cross they could not do anything with lasting effect or achieve anything; so they did not undertake easy to write something on which they did not, as it were, put the seal on with this religious symbol. ”Gatterer divides the various uses of the cross symbols into military (on flags, helmets and other weapons), majestic (on crowns, sceptres, among others and imperial orbs), heraldic (coats of arms), lapidary (epitaphs and monuments), book and letter crosses and document crosses.

He further differentiates the crosses for books and letters according to their use: firstly in the insertion instead of punctuation, secondly as critical signs in text annotations with different meanings through different types of cross, for example the St. Andrew's cross or the ( similar to the sextile symbol) Star cross called Ceraunion . The third usage was the chrismon .

With the obeliscus (Greek obĕlos) as a text-critical sign, one noted suspicious or inauthentic places in books and manuscripts (obelism or obelization).

Document crosses have been in use since the 5th century, they were mainly used as signatures and signatures and were first legally recognized by Justinian I in the Codex Iustinianus as a document of writing or signum . In addition to the need for those who are unfamiliar with writing, the blind and the “frail”, Gatterer named other causes for its frequent use: indolence, pride and fashion.

Cross as a date of death in a German print by Johann David Köhler from 1722

The preceding cross sign for dates of death has been used as a genealogical sign in the German-speaking area at least since the 17th century. Depending on the print shop's stock of characters, it is designed as a Latin cross ( crux ordinaria ) with rectangular bars or as an obeliscus with a tapering post (also crux ordinaria ) or with serifs to match the font . On the typewriter, the plus sign serves as a substitute sign. In his Outline of Genealogy in 1788, Gatterer used the symbol for dates of death as the only genealogical symbol . Further genealogical symbols were developed at the end of the 19th century and presented in 1910 by Stephan Kekule von Stradonitz in his work On the Use of an International Language for Genealogical Research .

Two-bar cross ‡

A related character is the character ‡ ( Unicode : U + 2021 double dagger ). The two crossbars are always the same length and the same distance from the end, so it resembles a shape of the Lorraine cross . The designation “ double cross ” is used both for this and for the number sign “#”.

In typography it is used as the third footnote symbol (next to the asterisk and the cross).

In chemistry it is used - among other things - to mark transition states.

Latin cross as a character

† ️

In Unicode , the Latin cross is included as U + 271D latin cross and as an emoji † ️. In contrast to the cross characters, which are mostly pointed at the bottom, the shaft and crossbar of the Latin cross are usually rectangular.

Representation on computer systems

Standard / System Cross (†) Two-bar cross (‡) Latin cross (✝)
Character encoding
Unicode Codepoint U + 2020 U + 2021 U + 271D
UTF-8 E2 80 Q0 E2 80 A1 E2 9C 9D
HTML entity † ‡ -
XML / XHTML decimal † ‡ ✝
hexadecimal † ‡ ✝
TeX / LaTeX Text mode \dag (from LaTeX2e) or
\ddag \textdied
Mathem. mode \dag (from LaTeX2e) - -
Further Groff : \[dg]4 Groff: \[dd]4 -
Input methods 1
Windows CP850 ( TUI ) - - -
CP1252 ( GUI ) Alt+ 01342 Alt+ 01352 -
macintosh alt/+T +  ⇧ +Y -
Neo Shift+ 95 - -
Microsoft Word Keyboard shortcut - - -
Unicode input 2, 0, 2, 0, Alt+C 2, 0, 2, 1, Alt+C 2, 7, 1, D, Alt+C
Vim Digraph 3 Strg+ K, Shift+7- - -
Unicode input Strg+ V, U, 2, 0, 2,0 Strg+ V, U, 2, 0, 2,1 Strg+ V, U, 2, 7, 1,D
1Key information related to a German QWERTY - keyboard layout . Many systems also offer specific options for entering a Unicode character directly.
2Enter numbers via the numeric keypad . Hold the Alt key down permanently.
3Digraph support based on RFC 1354 in insert mode according to documentation .
4th groff_char manpage
5Enter numbers via the numeric keypad .

Similar and related characters and symbols

The following table contains Unicode characters that consist of a (solid or interrupted) vertical line and one or (similar to the two-bar cross) two horizontal lines.

character Unicode position Unicode designation description
+ U + 002B PLUS SIGN Plus sign
ǂ U + 01C2 LATIN LETTER ALVEOLAR CLICK Letter of the Khoekhoegowab spelling for a click sound
U + 16ED RUNIC CROSS PUNCTUATION cross-shaped punctuation mark for runes
U + 2020 DAGGER cross
U + 2021 DOUBLE DAGGER Two-bar cross
U + 205C DOTTED CROSS dotted cross
U + 22B9 HERMITIAN CONJUGATE MATRIX Hermitian conjugated matrix
U + 2626 ORTHODOX CROSS russian orthodox cross
U + 2628 CROSS OF LORRAINE Patriarchal Cross
U + 2629 CROSS OF JERUSALEM Crutch cross
U + 2670 WEST SYRIAC CROSS west syrian cross
U + 2671 EAST SYRIAC CROSS East Syrian Cross
U + 26E8 BLACK CROSS ON SHIELD Cross on heraldic shield , Japanese map symbol for hospital
U + 2719 OUTLINED GREEK CROSS rimmed Greek cross
U + 271A HEAVY GREEK CROSS strong Greek cross
U + 271B OPEN CENTER CROSS Open center cross
U + 271C HEAVY OPEN CENTER CROSS strong cross with an open center
U + 271D LATIN CROSS latin cross
U + 271E SHADOWED WHITE LATIN CROSS shaded hollow Latin cross
U + 271F OUTLINED LATIN CROSS rimmed Latin cross
U + 2720 MALTESE CROSS Paw Cross (or Maltese Cross )
U + 2795 HEAVY PLUS SIGN strong plus sign
U + 29E7 THERMODYNAMIC vertical line with two crossbars
U + 2E38 TURNED DAGGER Petrus Cross
? U + 1F540 CIRCLED CROSS FRENCH circled apple cross
? U + 1F541 CROSS POMMEE WITH HALF-CIRCLE BELOW Apple cross lying in a semicircle
? U + 1F542 CROSS POMMEE Apple cross
? U + 1F546 WHITE LATIN CROSS hollow Latin cross
? U + 1F547 HEAVY LATIN CROSS strong Latin cross
? U + 1F548 CELTIC CROSS Celtic cross
? U + 1F70A ALCHEMICAL SYMBOL FOR VINEGAR alchemical symbol for vinegar
? U + 1F70B ALCHEMICAL SYMBOL FOR VINEGAR-2 alchemical symbol for (distilled) vinegar


From the French name Obele developed René Goscinny (the one with typographic was familiar terms, as his parents owned a printing press) and Albert Uderzo the name of their comic book character Obelix , similar to the name of the character Asterix from the French term astérisque for the character "*" ( Asterisk ).


  • Keith Houston: Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, & Other Typographical Marks. WW Norton & Co 2013, ISBN 978-0-393-06442-1 .

Individual evidence

  1. DIN 5008 : 2020-03
  2. New topics in DIN 5008 (information flyer , PDF) Westermann Group , March 11, 2020, p. 2 , accessed on March 21, 2020 . (in the section »Characters for“ born ”«, last column of the table)
  3. Asteriscus . In: Universal Lexicon of the Present and Past . 4., reworked. and greatly increased edition, Volume 1:  A – Aufzwingen , self-published, Altenburg 1857, p.  850 .
  4. Thomas Henderson: On the Parallax of α Centauri . In: Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society . tape 11 , January 3, 1839, p. 61 , bibcode : 1840MmRAS..11 ... 61H .
  5. Letter from Dr. R. Luther, Directors of the Bilk Observatory, to the editor (dated October 11, 1855), in: Astronomische Nachrichten , Volume 42, Altona 1856, Col. 107/108, online on Wikimedia Commons
  6. Johann Christoph Gatterer: Outline of Diplomatics . Göttingen 1798, p. 108 f .; digitized version of the Bavarian State Library, accessed August 31, 2010.
  7. Obeliscus . In: Universal Lexicon of the Present and Past . 4., reworked. and greatly increased edition, Volume 12:  Nishnei-Novgorod-Pfeufer , self-published, Altenburg 1861, p.  173 .
  8. obeliscus. In: Karl Ernst Georges : Comprehensive Latin-German concise dictionary. 8th edition, Hannover 1918 (reprint Darmstadt 1998), volume 2, column 1240 ( ).
  9. Johann Christoph Gatterer: Outline of Diplomatics. Göttingen 1798, p. 113.
  10. DIN 5008: 1986-11 "Rules for Typing" , Section 6.8: "Signs for" born "* and" died "+" - as in: DIN Taschenbuch 165: Büromaschinen - Norms (Information Technology 3), 2nd edition 1987, ISBN 3-410-11992-2 , p. 71. The (as of February 2017) current edition of the DIN 5008: 2011 “Writing and design rules for word processing” no longer contains this passage, but instead shows »characters in section 7.8 for "born" and "died" " only the sign † in the application example, while in the text only" genealogical signs "are mentioned without a concrete representation of them.
  11. ^ Johann Christoph Gatterer: Outline of the Genealogy . Göttingen 1788 ( ).
  12. ^ Genealogical symbols and signs on, accessed August 31, 2010
  13. ^ Stephan Kekule von Stradonitz: About the use of an international auxiliary language for genealogical research . In: Communications from the Central Office for German Personal and Family History. 6th issue. Leipzig 1910, pp. 27-38, accessed on August 31, 2010.
  14. ^ Friedrich Forssman , Ralf de Jong: Detail typography . 2nd Edition. Hermann Schmidt, Mainz 2004, ISBN 3-87439-642-8 , punctuation marks - everyday special characters, p. 190 (For the double cross there is (p. 189) the term "number sign".).
  15. † ️ Latin Cross Emoji. In: Emojipedia . Retrieved October 11, 2017 .
  16. groff_char man page .
  17. ^ Goscinny-Uderzo: Le livre d'Astérix le gaulois. Olivier Andrieu, Éditions Albert-René, Paris 1999, p. 13.