crack

verb
\ ˈkrak \
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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Near the champagne station, the two hugged, cracked each other up, and posed for pictures looking like the best of friends. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Lady Gaga Meeting Rami Malek and More Amazing Golden Globes Moments You Missed," 7 Jan. 2019 Fixer Upper fans have witnessed it more than once: As Joanna Gaines thoughtfully discusses a home, Chip cracks a joke that sends her into giggles. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Chip Gaines Reveals How Joanna Keeps Him in Line When He’s 'Off the Tracks'," 5 Jan. 2019 And as their frequent Twitter banter has demonstrated, the pair can certainly crack a joke. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Sabrina Carpenter Wants to Team Up With Joey King for a Comedy," 28 Dec. 2018 At a major conference in early December, Google’s DeepMind cracked open a longstanding problem in biology: predicting how proteins fold. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "The case for taking AI seriously as a threat to humanity," 21 Dec. 2018 Amazon could never crack food and the culture and the trust around food, and so Whole Foods has really helped them in doing so. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Why Sweetgreen thinks like a tech company," 17 Dec. 2018 By comparison, the old viaduct gradually cracked and sank six inches since the Nisqually Earthquake of 2001. Mike Lindblom, The Seattle Times, "What will the Highway 99 tunnel opening mean for bus routes, detours and tsunamis? We answer those questions and more," 12 Dec. 2018 Don’t use pliers; too much pressure could crack the vent. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Silence a Noisy Steam Radiator," 11 Dec. 2018 Edge doesn’t even crack the top three in our roundup of the best web browsers, falling behind Chrome, Opera, and Firefox. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Microsoft Edge embraces open-source Chromium code, plans move to Windows 7, 8, and Macs," 6 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

More than 20 years ago, the crack epidemic brought on a similar crisis. Naomi Schaefer Riley, WSJ, "The White House Can Help Foster Kids," 9 Dec. 2018 After applying her face products and midnight black eyeshadow, Pamela goes back in with her liner, adding the appropriate cracks for a skull. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Makeup Artist Created a Glamorous Halloween Skeleton Look," 2 Oct. 2018 Two studies of postal workers, done in the late 1980s, near the peak of the crack epidemic, tested job applicants — but didn’t show the results to people making hiring decisions. Mark A.r. Kleiman, Vox, "Is it time to do away with job applicant drug testing?," 27 July 2018 In an interview with detectives, Frye admitted to drinking alcohol and smoking crack cocaine that night, according to the complaint. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee man charged with drunk or drugged driving in single-car crash that injured 2 after Summerfest," 3 July 2018 Board members left the door open a crack for the program continuing, giving community members until the end of the school year to raise enough funds to allow the program to remain in some form. Staff Report, chicagotribune.com, "Let the music play: Successful fundraising effort by Norridge parents saves District 80 band program," 22 June 2018 Under the new system, her group will shrink, meaning even shorter waits and first crack at bin space. Alison Sider, WSJ, "Airlines’ Boarding Changes Reward Higher-Paying Travelers," 21 Dec. 2018 The first major crack in that de facto standard came last week, when Epic launched its own store that only takes a 12-percent cut of total revenues. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Discord Store to offer developers 90 percent of game revenues," 14 Dec. 2018 Workers doing maintenance Tuesday morning found the first crack on a steel beam holding up the transit center's rooftop park. Fox News, "Second cracked beam found at $2B San Francisco's 'Grand Central'," 28 Sep. 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.

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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

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Statistics for crack

Last Updated

15 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for crack

The first known use of crack was before the 12th century

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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 \
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 \

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

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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

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