Meaning of CRANK in English


I. ˈkraŋk, -raiŋk noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English cranke, from Old English cranc- (as in crancstæf, a weaving instrument); akin to Old High German krankolōn to stumble, become weak, Middle High German kranc weak, Old English crincan to fall in battle, Old English cradol cradle — more at cradle

1. : a part of an axis bent at right angles: as


(1) : a bent part of an axle or shaft or an arm keyed at right angles to the end of a shaft by which circular motion is imparted to or received from it or by which reciprocating motion is changed into circular motion or vice versa — see bell crank

(2) : disk crank

b. : an elbow-shaped brace, bracket, or support

c. : a machine consisting of a disk that can be revolved by hand with some effort and that was formerly used as a means of disciplinary exercise in prisons

d. : a fireclay stand (as in glost firing)

2. : something crooked or out of line: as

a. archaic : a bend, turn, or winding (as in a road, channel, path)

b. : a twist or turn of speech : a conceit consisting of a fantastic change of the form or meaning of a word — used especially in the phrase quips and cranks


(1) : a fantastic, fanciful, or impractical turn of mind or action : whim

a man subject to unpredictable cranks

(2) : a person with a fanciful, impractical, or crackbrained obsession or project : one overenthusiastic or overly active and attentive in some particular field or activity

crank adherents of a lost cause

a gun crank

crank letters

a crank on the subject of tax reform

d. : a bad-tempered often quarrelsome person : grouch , crosspatch

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

intransitive verb

1. : to run or move with a winding course : wind and turn : zigzag

the river comes cranking into the town

the hare cranked and doubled

2. : to turn a crank (as in starting an automobile engine)

transitive verb

1. : to bend into the shape of a crank : bend back or down

2. : to furnish or fasten with a crank

3. : to move or operate by a crank : start or attempt to start (an engine) by use of a crank — often used with up

III. adjective

( -er/-est )

Etymology: probably from crank (I)

1. now chiefly Scotland

a. : distorted , bent

a crank tree trunk

b. : awkward , difficult

a crank word to pronounce

2. : out of kilter : working with difficulty : loose

crank machinery

IV. noun

( -s )

Etymology: perhaps from crank (I) ; from the creaking sound made by a windlass

: a grating or creaking sound

V. intransitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

: to make a creaking or raucous sound

VI. adjective

( -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English cranke

1. obsolete : lusty , vigorous

2. now dialect

a. : merry , high-spirited

b. : inclined to exult : cocky , confident

VII. adverb

obsolete : lustily , vigorously , boldly

VIII. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Dutch or Low German kranke sick person, from krank sick, from Middle Dutch cranc and Middle Low German krank sick, weak; akin to Middle High German kranc weak — more at crank I

obsolete : a person who pretends to have epilepsy in order to get sympathy and money

IX. adjective

( -er/-est )

Etymology: short for crank-sided

: very easily tipped by any external force (as that of the wind on the sails) — used of a boat; compare steady , stiff

X. noun

: crystal herein

XI. transitive verb

1. : to start as if by use of a crank — usually used with up

she cranked up the air-conditioner

2. : to turn up (sense 3) — usually used with up

crank up the stereo

intransitive verb

: to gain speed, momentum, or intensity — usually used with up

the campaign is cranking up

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