\ 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 upThe 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 onThe 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.



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 outa 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
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



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 The main indictment charges 10 defendants, including Reed and Tate, described as senior members of the gang who directed the sale of methamphetamine, crack cocaine and powder cocaine from their South Los Angeles storefronts. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, "FBI and LAPD arrest 14 in alleged storefront drug ring run by South L.A. gang," 18 Nov. 2020 Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were a part of the much vaunted blue wall that Trump was able to crack in 2016. Joey Garrison, USA TODAY, "It was a long election night. Here's what we know so far — and what we don't," 4 Nov. 2020 Former government drugs advisor Professor David Nutt has been researching the effects of alcohol for decades and memorably said that alcohol is more dangerous than crack cocaine. Eleanor Morgan,, "Even Moderate Drinking Is Damaging Our Health, So Why Do We Do It?," 11 Oct. 2020 Melt the butter and then carefully crack in the eggs. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Flatbreads let your creativity flow," 6 Oct. 2020 The Tigers were unable to crack Singer and the Royals' three relievers, in a 4-0 loss Wednesday at Comerica Park. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Tarik Skubal shines, but Detroit Tigers flummoxed by Royals rookie Brady Singer in 4-0 loss," 17 Sep. 2020 Who would have thought a 32-year-old journeyman who could not even crack a big-league roster in 2017 and 2018 would be hitting .400 after 20 games? Henry Schulman,, "Giants’ midseason review: 30-game roller coaster leaves Kapler’s squad in the hunt," 25 Aug. 2020 But the Washington Capitals were well positioned to crack his system in the first round of the N.H.L. playoffs. Curtis Rush, New York Times, "Islanders Advance in N.H.L. Playoffs Past Washington Capitals," 20 Aug. 2020 That defense began to crack open in the final minutes of the match, however, allowing Andrew Wooten to net a goal in the 85th minute. Julia Poe,, "Portland Timbers book first spot in MLS final with 2-1 win over Philadelphia," 5 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The crack of the rifle was followed by a loud yelp. Brett Anderson, New York Times, "The Thanksgiving Myth Gets a Deeper Look This Year," 17 Nov. 2020 Then, at the crack of dawn on the 10th — the day before the lunch — Williams passed on an insistent message from the president’s chief adviser and friend: think again! — do come! Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, National Review, "An Encounter Sabotaged," 17 Nov. 2020 Similarly, little details like leaving at the crack of dawn to start road travels was a given. Nneka M. Okona, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Two Friends Turned the History of the ‘Green Book’ Into a Podcast," 7 Oct. 2020 The sounds of the game are amplified by the roar of the crowd, from the crack of the wooden bat to the smack of the cowhide-and-cork ball hitting a leather glove. Alan Smolinisky, WSJ, "Ballgames Aren’t the Same Without Crowds," 4 Oct. 2020 Officers had called him a monkey when he was caught selling crack as a teenager, and he had been beaten up by Third Precinct officers in 2016 after his boss called the cops following an argument. Wes Enzinna, Harper's Magazine, "The Sanctuary," 15 Sep. 2020 Police responded of a man suspected of selling crack cocaine out of his car at 3:53 p.m. July 10. Brian Lisik, cleveland, "Police investigate suspected drug activity: Medina Police Blotter," 13 July 2020 Brandon Hill, Judson Tallandier, Buddy Mack and Erick Hallett will all be given a crack at replacing Ford. Mark Heim |, al, "Florida State-Pittsburgh live stream (11/7): How to watch college football online, TV, time," 7 Nov. 2020 In Week 8, Joe Burrow got a crack at a highly touted Titans defense. Charlie Goldsmith, The Enquirer, "Film room: Breaking down Joe Burrow's five most interesting plays vs. the Titans," 4 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Among the drugs detectives seized were crack cocaine, oxycodone, MDMA and cannabis. Wayne K. Roustan,, "Sweeps target gang activity; guns, drugs and cash confiscated," 20 Sep. 2019 Police recovered suspected crack cocaine, suspected marijuana, a short straw, a metal spoon and a knife. Bruce Geiselman,, "Trespassing suspect found with 3 watches: North Olmsted Police Blotter," 10 Aug. 2019 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


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


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


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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Time Traveler for crack

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for crack

Last Updated

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Crack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for crack


How to pronounce crack (audio)

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



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



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

: very good : of excellent quality or ability


\ 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.



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.



Kids Definition of crack (Entry 3 of 3)

: of high quality or ability crack troops


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

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