I know what crosshairs means today, but I got to wondering where the term came from. So I looked it up.
So it turns out it was originally a scientific term that came to be associated with gunnery.
I’ve never owned a gun with crosshairs, probably because the only two weapons I’ve ever owned was a 22mm-target rifle that belonged to my first husband and which only took one bullet and was used for competitive target shooting…
And — a Red Ryder BB rifle. They still make them and they look exactly like the one in “A Christmas Story.” They have a nice heft to them, though shooting them is an exercise in artillery. They don’t have enough power to shoot straight unless you are standing two feet away from your target, so you have to calculate the arc of the pellet. It’s really an exercise in calculus or is it geometry? Trigonometry?
We used that to slaughter paper plates with it in our backyard. I think Owen swiped it. Which was only fair since I just liked looking at it, but he enjoyed trying to actually aim it and hit something.
These days, the word is used rather casually to mean “I’m watching you carefully,” as in “I’ve got you in my crosshairs.” Not something I’m likely to say.
I don’t know that I’ve ever used the term myself, though I’ve heard it used in a thousand or two television shows. There are a bunch of shows on these days that could probably use “Crosshairs” as their title, especially “SWAT.”
Do the leveling things on a camera count as crosshairs? They aren’t hairs. They are software. Sort of crosshairs — in a virtual way.