from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

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

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A rod. See rod, 1.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A name of various measures.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A cubic measure for masons' work of 64, 72, etc., cubic yards.
  • noun Same as Holy-cross day (which see, under day).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A representation in sculpture or in painting of the cross with Christ hanging on it.
  • noun Prov. Eng. A measure of five and a half yards in length; a rod; a perch; a pole.
  • noun The fourth part of an acre, or forty square rods.
  • noun by the cross; -- a phrase formerly used in swearing.
  • noun (Arch.) a beam across the chancel of a church, supporting the rood.
  • noun (Arch.) a loft or gallery, in a church, on which the rood and its appendages were set up to view.
  • noun (Arch.) a screen, between the choir and the body of the church, over which the rood was placed.
  • noun (Arch.) a tower at the intersection of the nave and transept of a church; -- when crowned with a spire it was called also rood steeple.
  • noun [Obs.] the cross.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • noun representation of the cross on which Jesus died


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

[Middle English, from Old English rōd.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.


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  • Door in reverse.

    November 3, 2007

  • 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