crack

verb
\ ˈkrak How to pronounce crack (audio) \
cracked; cracking; cracks

Definition of crack

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to make a very sharp explosive sound The whip cracks through the air.
2 : to break, split, or snap apart The statue cracked when she dropped it.
3 : fail: such as
a : to lose control or effectiveness under pressure often used with up The stress was so great that she started to crack up.
b : to fail in tone His voice cracked.
4 : to go or travel at good speed usually used with on The steamboat cracked on.

transitive verb

1a : to break so that fissures appear on the surface crack a mirror
b : to break with a sudden sharp sound crack nuts
2 : to tell especially suddenly or strikingly crack a joke
3 : to strike with a sharp noise : rap then cracks him over the head cracked a two-run homer in the eighth
4a(1) : to open (something, such as a bottle) for drinking
(2) : to open (a book) for studying
b : to puzzle out and expose, solve, or reveal the mystery of crack a code
c : to break into crack a safe
d : to open slightly crack the throttle
e : to break through (something, such as a barrier) so as to gain acceptance or recognition … on track to crack Hollywood after landing a big screen role.— Ed Gleave and Peter Dyke
f : to show or begin showing (a smile) especially reluctantly or uncharacteristically
5a : to impair seriously or irreparably : wreck crack an opponent's courage
b : to destroy the tone of (a voice)
c : disorder, craze Worry had cracked his otherwise cheerful disposition.
d : to interrupt sharply or abruptly The criticism cracked our complacency.
6 : to cause to make a sharp noise cracks his knuckles
7a(1) : to subject (hydrocarbons) to cracking
(2) : to produce by cracking cracked gasoline
b : to break up (chemical compounds) into simpler compounds by means of heat
crack the whip
: to adopt or apply an authoritative, tyrannical, or threatening approach or policy (as in demanding harder work from employees) The team needs a coach who isn't afraid to crack the whip.
crack wise
: to make a wisecrack The comedian often cracked wise about prominent politicians.

crack

noun

Definition of crack (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : a loud roll or peal a crack of thunder
b : a sudden sharp noise the crack of rifle fire
2 : a sharp witty remark : quip
3a : a narrow break : fissure a crack in the ice
b : a narrow opening Leave the door open a crack. cracks between floorboards used figuratively in phrases like fall through the cracks to describe one that has been improperly or inadvertently ignored or left out a player who fell through the cracks in the college draftChildren slipping through the cracks of available youth services.
4a : a weakness or flaw caused by decay, age, or deficiency : unsoundness
b : a broken tone of the voice
c : crackpot
5 : moment, instant the crack of dawn
7 : a sharp resounding blow gave him a crack on the head
8 : an attempt or opportunity to do something her first crack at writing a novel got first crack at the job opening
9 or crack cocaine : a potent form of cocaine that is obtained by treating the hydrochloride of cocaine with sodium bicarbonate to create small chips used illicitly for smoking

crack

adjective

Definition of crack (Entry 3 of 3)

: of superior excellence or ability a crack marksman

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of crack in a Sentence

Verb

The hailstones were big enough to crack some windows. He cracked his collarbone in a skiing accident. The mirror cracked when she dropped it. Workers cracked the large rock into three pieces so it could be moved. The bird cracked the seed on a tree branch. a tool used for cracking nuts He cracked open the eggs. Someone cracked him over the head with a beer bottle. The baby cracked her chin pretty hard when she fell. He fell and cracked his elbow on the ice.

Noun

The crack runs all the way from the top of the wall to the bottom. an old patio with grass growing up through the cracks The vase has a few fine cracks, but it is still usable. I could see them through the crack in the doorway. Light came through the cracks in the walls of the barn.

Adjective

The company has a crack sales force. known as one of the college's crack tennis players
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Even with half the rotation lighting it up from awkward distances, that distribution is untenable when trying to crack the upper echelon of efficiency. Matthew Glenesk, Indianapolis Star, "In rare twist, Indiana Pacers are NBA free agency winners for once," 9 July 2018 With heat, that water turns to steam, which damages the concrete as it is expelled, causing the material to crack and flake apart in a process known as explosive spalling. Kevin Davenport, idahostatesman, "How a 20-minute fire in the fatal I-84 crash ruined a concrete overpass," 22 June 2018 Thus Clinton, who famously avoided the draft in Vietnam, supplies his alter-ego with a heroic military record that seems to be based on John McCain’s: Duncan is an Army Ranger who was taken prisoner in Iraq and refused to crack under torture. Adam Kirsch, The Atlantic, "Bill Clinton’s Novel Isn't a Thriller—It's a Fantasy," 16 June 2018 Mindhunter is implicitly a show about crime shows, one that trains its eye on everything police procedurals take for granted—the concept of criminal profiling, above all, and the ability to crack a case by trying to reconstruct the mind of a killer. K. Austin Collins, HWD, "Before Jonathan Groff Could Nail Mindhunter, He Had to Stop Smiling," 14 June 2018 The theory is popular in parts of the pro-Trump internet because one of its key components is the idea that Trump is about to crack the case wide open. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "A brief history of Roseanne Barr's online hate," 30 May 2018 Other fans wander back to the infield, sit in their chairs, crack another beer, and wait for tomorrow. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "One Day at Daytona," 22 Mar. 2019 And then there's Jon Huertas, the jokester extraordinaire always cracking people up. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Chrissy Metz Says This Is Us Fans Have Kate All Wrong," 19 Mar. 2019 When the post surpassed Kylie's record of 18 million likes (as of March 19, the pic has over 53 million likes), the beauty mogul responded with the best clapback: a video of her cracking an egg on the hot sidewalk. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "10 Times the Kardashians Hilariously Clapped Back At Instagram Haters," 19 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Photo: Getty William Barr’s vision of law and order was forged at the height of the 1990s crack epidemic, when the consensus in Washington was that long mandatory prison sentences were the best way to fight crime. Sadie Gurman, WSJ, "Will William Barr Revive the 1990s Tough-on-Crime Approach?," 16 Jan. 2019 Regularly run a canister vacuum over the surface to remove dirt and debris from cracks and crevices. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean Your Laminate Floors (Without Ruining Them)," 28 Mar. 2019 The Pohang plant works by pumping thousands of gallons of water deep beneath the Earth’s surface and into small subsurface cracks. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "One of the Worst Earthquakes in Korea's History Was Caused by Humans," 21 Mar. 2019 Some photos posted on social media show people even climbing into large cracks on the buckled road in Wasilla north of Anchorage, an Alaska State Trooper said. Rachel D'oro, The Seattle Times, "Alaska selfie-takers told to stay off quake-buckled road," 5 Dec. 2018 And as growth has slowed, the product organization has been able to address the cracks that emerged as thousands of new customers poured into the system every day. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Coinbase thrived when cryptocurrencies crashed. Can it take the blockchain back to the mainstream?," 27 Sep. 2018 Triatomines are nocturnal and tend to live in cracks and holes in rocks and buildings; underneath porches, concrete, rock, wood, brush piles, and tree bark; or in rodent nests or animal burrows. Bartie Scott, Teen Vogue, "Disease Spread by Kissing Bug Could Become More Common in the U.S.," 21 Aug. 2018 And then a small sliver of the wood detached with a loud crack. Paul Collins, BostonGlobe.com, "What lies in the lab: The gruesome murder at Harvard that transfixed New England," 11 July 2018 Last week, the Kilauea volcano on the island of Hawaii began oozing lava from 15 cracks in its East Rift Zone, destroying streets and burning up three dozen homes in the Leilani Estates subdivision. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "“Explosive” Eruptions Possible at Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano," 11 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Follow along with The Post's crack whip count on where Senate Republicans stand on the revised health-care plan. Paige Winfield Cunningham, Washington Post, "The Health 202: Trump administration tells moderates to trust it on health care," 14 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crack.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of crack

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1793, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for crack

Verb, Noun, and Adjective

Middle English crakken, from Old English cracian; akin to Old High German chrahhōn to resound

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for crack

crack

verb

English Language Learners Definition of crack

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to break (something) so that there are lines in its surface but it is usually not separated into pieces
: to hit or press (something) so hard that it breaks apart or opens suddenly
: to hit (someone or something) hard and usually suddenly

crack

noun

English Language Learners Definition of crack (Entry 2 of 3)

: a thin line in the surface of something that is broken but not separated into pieces
: a very narrow space or opening between two things or two parts of something
: a sudden loud, sharp sound

crack

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of crack (Entry 3 of 3)

: very good : of excellent quality or ability

crack

verb
\ ˈkrak How to pronounce crack (audio) \
cracked; cracking

Kids Definition of crack

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to break or cause to break with a sudden sharp sound crack an egg
2 : to break often without completely separating into parts The ice cracked in several places.
3 : to make or cause to make a sound as if breaking crack a whip
4 : to open a small amount crack a window
5 : to tell (a joke) especially in a clever way
6 : to lose self-control He cracked under the strain.
7 : to change in tone quality My voice cracked from emotion.
8 : to strike or receive a sharp blow … I bounced sideways and cracked my head on the half-open window …— Jack Gantos, Joey Pigza Loses Control
9 : solve I cracked the code.
crack up
1 : to have a reputation as a result of praise The show wasn't as good as it was cracked up to be.
2 : to damage or destroy (a vehicle) by crashing
3 : to laugh or cause to laugh Her costume cracked me up.

crack

noun

Kids Definition of crack (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a narrow break or opening a crack in the glass
2 : a sudden sharp noise a crack of thunder
3 : a sharp clever remark
4 : a broken tone of the voice
5 : the beginning moment I awoke at the crack of dawn.
6 : a sharp blow
7 : attempt entry 2 It was my first crack at writing.

crack

adjective

Kids Definition of crack (Entry 3 of 3)

: of high quality or ability crack troops

crack

noun, often attributive
\ ˈkrak How to pronounce crack (audio) \

Medical Definition of crack

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on crack

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with crack

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crack

Spanish Central: Translation of crack

Nglish: Translation of crack for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crack for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about crack

Comments on crack

What made you want to look up crack? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a sum of money that is sent as a payment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!