\ 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.



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



Definition of crack (Entry 3 of 3)

: of superior excellence or ability a crack marksman

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 the strongest foundation can crack from that much wear and tear. Tribune News Service, al, 7 June 2022 The sound of a gun can crack at your ears like a whip. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 25 May 2022 The low pressure fuel hose that connects the low pressure fuel pump to the direct injection fuel pump may crack over time, due to heat generated within the engine compartment. Detroit Free Press, 20 May 2022 The low-pressure fuel hose that connects the low-pressure fuel pump to the direct injection fuel pump may crack over time, due to heat generated within the engine compartment. USA TODAY, 19 May 2022 She's struggled to crack the top three in most polls of the GOP race, with investment banker Mike Gibbons and former state Treasurer Josh Mandel leading in recent months, with state Sen. Matt Dolan coming on lately. Tyler Olson, Fox News, 1 May 2022 Thirdly, no business can crack climate challenges alone. Jeff Thomson, Forbes, 22 Apr. 2022 The median annual earning for U.S. workers is about $42,000, according to the Census Bureau, and most people never crack six figures in any year of their careers, never mind the first. Callum Borchers, WSJ, 10 Mar. 2022 While Russia is a significant and growing market for major game publishers, the country doesn't even crack the top 10 nations by game industry revenues, according to a 2021 NewZoo report. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, 7 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun At the crack of dawn on April 16, 1912, an American aviator pulled on her form-fitting satin flying suit, with its cinched waist, flattering hood and tapered legs that flowed into calf-high boots. Charlotte Gray, WSJ, 13 June 2022 Read on for gift ideas for the friend who got up at the crack of dawn for Harry and Meghan's wedding and Will and Kate's, and is biding time until The Crown season 5 by seeing Spencer multiple times. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, 1 June 2022 This season, the flight of baseballs remain inconsistent and plenty that sound like homers at the crack die harmlessly along warning tracks. Bryce Millercolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 May 2022 Written by executive producers Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger and directed by Chris Koch, the episode opens in the 1980s as young Kevin, Randall, and Kate continually wake their parents at the crack of dawn requesting waffles. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, 10 May 2022 Nearly every weekday for the last 20 years, at the crack of dawn, some of the area’s top prospects have trained together. Nick Alvarez |, al, 29 Apr. 2022 On May 8, 2021, at the crack of dawn, shreds of mist crept from the chilly fields onto Ziendeweg, a country road south of Amsterdam. Menno Schilthuizen, Scientific American, 12 Apr. 2022 Guo Ziwei, who lives in Shanghai’s normally bustling Jingan district, is waking up at the crack of dawn to order food. Tiffany Ap, Quartz, 8 Apr. 2022 The text delivering this news arrives before the crack of dawn, but Jenner has already been up for hours. Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety, 10 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In 1986, Biden wrote a strict federal anti-crack bill, and sold it by complaining that President Reagan was weak and had surrendered in the War on Drugs. Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review, 23 June 2021 Among the drugs detectives seized were crack cocaine, oxycodone, MDMA and cannabis. Wayne K. Roustan,, 20 Sep. 2019 Police recovered suspected crack cocaine, suspected marijuana, a short straw, a metal spoon and a knife. Bruce Geiselman,, 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, 14 July 2017 See More

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.

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

20 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Crack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for crack


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on crack

Nglish: Translation of crack for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crack for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about crack


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