Meaning of CRACK in English


I. ˈkrak verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English crakken, alteration (influenced by crak, n.) of craken, from Old English cracian; akin to Old English cearcian to creak, gnash, Old High German krahhōn to crack, Sanskrit garjati he roars, Old English cran crane — more at crane

intransitive verb

1. : to make a loud sharp sudden sound or series of such sounds (as the snap of a whip, a rifle shot) : give forth a report

wood cracking in a fire

his high yell of laughter cracked out when he thought of something funny — Virginia D. Dawson & Betty D. Wilson

2. : to snap asunder

the ropes cracked under pressure

: open in chinks


a. chiefly Scotland : talk , chat , gossip

b. now dialect : to speak pompously : brag , boast

4. : to become ruined or impaired : fail: as

a. : to lose control or effectiveness especially when working or competing under pressure

his reserve cracked

any pitcher is liable to crack during a tight game

— often used with up

if he doesn't rest he'll crack up completely

b. : to fail in tone production : become discordant or harsh

his voice cracked

c. : to smash up a vehicle especially by losing control — used with up

he cracked up taking a curve



(1) : to go or travel at good speed

(2) archaic : to proceed under or as if under full sail or steam — used with on

b. : to move toward an objective : progress

get cracking


a. of chemical compounds : to break up into simpler compounds usually as a result of heating : undergo pyrolysis

b. of an emulsion : break vi 7 f (2)

7. of hot syrup : to break when dropped into cold water and subjected to moderate pressure

transitive verb

1. : to break or burst: as

a. : to break (something brittle or hollow) with a sharp or explosive sound

crack a nut

b. : to break (anything hard or brittle) so that clefts, chinks, or fissures appear on the surface

the fall cracked the cup across the bottom

the storm broke a dozen windowpanes and cracked many others


a. : to utter especially suddenly and sententiously : tell strikingly

crack a jest

crack a joke

b. : to cry up : extol , praise — used with up

the car wasn't all the dealer cracked it up to be

he cracked up Whitehead to the stars — H.J.Laski

3. : to strike with a sharp noise : slap , bang

crack a person over the head

4. : to put on (as full sail, steam, speed) : clap on — used with on

he liked everything about this convoy: he liked its air of purpose as it cracked on speed — Nicholas Monsarrat

5. : to break open or into: as

a. : to open (as a bottle) and usually drink

crack a fifth

b. : to puzzle out and solve, expose, or reveal the mystery of

crack an enemy code

crack a garbled message

crack a crime syndicate wide open

crack the logic of an argument

c. : to break into

crack a safe

specifically Britain : to break into (a house) — often used in the phrase crack a crib

d. : to open slightly

crack a door

crack a window

crack a throttle

crack a valve

e. : to enter or win recognition by (an exclusive profession, coterie, society)

it has been extremely difficult … for foreign artists … to crack the Parisian art front without going there to live — J.T.Soby

f. : to open (a book) for the purpose of study

crack a physics text

several students were up … cracking the books beyond midnight — Jack Edison

6. : violate , damage , destroy : as

a. : to impair often irreparably : wreck , ruin

crack a bat

crack an opponent's courage

— often used with up

crack a new car up

b. : to make (the voice) discordant or harsh : destroy the tone of

c. : disorder , craze

worry had cracked his otherwise expansive personality

d. : to interrupt (as a settled usage, condition, continuity, tradition) sharply or abruptly

his criticism cracked our complacency

7. : to cause to make a sharp noise

crack one's knuckles



(1) : to subject (hydrocarbon oils or gases) to cracking

(2) : to produce by cracking — usually used in past participle

cracked gasoline

b. : to break up (chemical compounds) into simpler compounds usually by means of heat : subject to pyrolysis


a. in contract bridge : double

b. in poker : open

crack the pot

Synonyms: see break

- crack a smile

- crack the whip

- crack wise

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English crak; akin to Old High German krach loud noise, Old English cracian, v.


a. : a loud earsplitting roar or peal

a crack of thunder

the crack of trumpets

the crack of a cannon

— often used interjectionally

b. : a sudden sharp noise : a brief intense report : bang

the jug hit the floor with a terrible crack

the chair went over with a crack

the crack of a rifle

— often used interjectionally

crack ! went the whip

c. : the breaking or broken tone of the voice (as when changed at puberty)


a. now dialect Britain : boasting or an instance of boasting

b. chiefly dialect Britain

(1) : talk , conversation , gossip

(2) : tale , story , joke

(3) cracks plural : news

c. : a sharp, cutting, or sarcastically witty remark : quip

Washington was not famous for saying funny things but sometimes he got off a crack that was widely appreciated — Roger Butterfield


a. : a narrow break or thin slit (as in or across a surface) sometimes caused by incomplete joining, drying, or setting, by strain or decay, or by a blow or fall not sufficiently violent to cause a complete break : fissure

a windowpane full of cracks

trip over a crack in the ice

b. : a narrow opening

you can leave the outer door open a crack so you can hear if anyone comes — John Steinbeck

c. : an open crosswise streak in woven fabrics


a. : a weakness or flaw caused by decay, age, or deficiency : unsoundness

a crack in a person's mind

little rifts and cracks … in the whole bland, ecclesiastical facade of Victorian England — C.D.Lewis

b. : a crazy or erratic person : crackpot

the cracks who … interest themselves … in every sensational murder case — D.L.Champion

5. obsolete : a roguish boy : wag

6. slang Britain : a thing or person of superior excellence or ability

Australia sent a couple of cracks to defend the trophy

7. archaic : prostitute

8. : moment , instant

I'll be there in a crack

at the crack of dawn


a. archaic : burglar

b. : housebreaking , burglary

a successful crack

10. : a sharp resounding blow

a crack on the head

11. : a single effort or attempt

get rid of a job at one crack

he said he didn't know how to swim but would take a crack at it

12. : the stage at which syrup from boiling sugar breaks with a snap when chilled by being dripped from a spoon or dropped into water

13. : a poultry egg with a noticeably cracked shell but with unbroken membrane — contrasted with check


fissure , crevice , chink , cleft , cranny : crack is likely to indicate a line of breaking or splitting in a continuing surface with or without perceptible separation into an opening that resembles a slit

a crack in a pane of glass

cracks in the parched mud

fissure usually indicates a narrow opening of some depth as a result of some rending or breaking force

a fissure in the stone floor, like a crack in china, which was plastered up with clay — Willa Cather

crevice indicates an opening like a fissure but less strongly suggests forceful recent cleavage and may lend itself to use in situations involving accumulation, deposit, growth, or concealment within

the cross formed by snow in the crevices of the rock

intolerance can always find some crevice in the administration of the law — Zechariah Chafee

chink suggests a space or hole, often a slit, permitting one to see through or to utilize in escape, evasion, or deft attack

I felt as if I had slipped through some chink in the veil of the past and become a medieval student — John Buchan

Republicans … had independently been studying the Truman armor for new chinks — Atlantic

cleft suggests a V-shaped indention, as though made with a splitting wedge, in some formation

Dover, an English seaport … occupies a wide cleft in the chalk hills formed by the valley of the river Don — Chambers's Encyc.

cranny suggests a slit, niche, or recess, often one in a wall or enclosed structure and often small and easy to overlook

they explored every nook and cranny of the West, seeking out passes through mountain barriers — R.A.Billington

Synonym: see in addition joke .

III. adjective

Etymology: crack (II) (something excellent)

: of superior excellence or ability

a crack ship

a crack tennis player

a crack regiment

crack maintenance and cargo specialists — B.M.Bowie

IV. noun

Usage: often attributive

: a purified potent form of cocaine that is obtained by treating cocaine hydrochloride with sodium bicarbonate to create small chips used illicitly usually for smoking

crack cocaine

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.