Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A crucifix symbolizing the cross on which Jesus was crucified.
  • n. A large, usually wooden crucifix surmounting the rood screen or rood beam of a medieval church.
  • n. Chiefly British A measure of length that varies from 5 1/2 to 8 yards (5.0 to 7.3 meters).
  • n. A measure of land equal to 1/4 acre, or 40 square rods (0.10 hectare).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A crucifix, cross.
  • n. A measure of land area, equal to a quarter of an acre.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A representation in sculpture or in painting of the cross with Christ hanging on it.
  • n. A measure of five and a half yards in length; a rod; a perch; a pole.
  • n. The fourth part of an acre, or forty square rods.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A rod. See rod, 1.
  • n. A cross or crucifix; especially, a large crucifix placed at the entrance to the choir in medieval churches, often supported on the rood-beam or rood-screen.
  • n. A name of various measures.
  • n. A square pole, or 30¼ square yards, used in estimating masons' work; also, locally, a measure of 36, 42¼, 44, 49, or 64 square yards.
  • n. A cubic measure for masons' work of 64, 72, etc., cubic yards.
  • n. Same as Holy-cross day (which see, under day).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. representation of the cross on which Jesus died

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English rōd.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English rood, from Old English rōd ("a rod, pole, rood (land measure), plot of land of a square rod, a cross, rood (as in Holy-rood), gallows, a cross on which a person is executed, death on a cross, crucifix"), from Proto-Germanic *rōdō, *rōdōn (“rod, pole”), from Proto-Indo-European *rōt-, *rāt- (“bar, beam, stem”). Cognate with German Rute ("rod, cane, pole"), Norwegian roda ("rod"). Largely displaced by cross. More at rod. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • The vast white headless phantom floats further and further from the ship, and every rod that it so floats, what seem square roods of sharks and cubic roods of fowls, augment the murderous din.

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 69

    July 26, 2008

  • Door in reverse.

    November 3, 2007