\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.



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

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Examples of crack in a Sentence


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.


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.


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

Security experts say that while these passwords can be unreadable, there are tools that can help hackers crack simple or easy-to-guess passwords, even with these protections. Robert Mcmillan, WSJ, "Data Breach at Question-and-Answer Site Quora Affects 100 Million," 3 Dec. 2018 And both Beautiful Boy and Boy Erased also struggled with reviews, with neither cracking a 75 on Metacritic. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "It looks like the Oscars are going to nominate a bunch of big hits for Best Picture," 30 Nov. 2018 That seems to have changed with the release of iOS 12 last month, which a recent Forbes report notes appears to have completely blocked the GrayKey tool, preventing it from cracking the password of any devices running the latest software. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Apple seems to have completely blocked police password cracking tool in iOS 12," 24 Oct. 2018 But the question on everyone’s minds in season 10 isn’t about cracking cases. Megan Stein, Country Living, "‘NCIS: LA’ Brought Back One of Callen’s Former Flames and Fans Have a Lot of Feelings," 21 Oct. 2018 Avoid this problem by cracking that egg into another bowl. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "Crack Your Eggs Into a Separate Bowl, I'm Begging You," 11 Oct. 2018 What cracked the case, Rieppi says, was the presence of a synthetic blue pigment that wasn’t available until 1997. Stephen Wallis, Town & Country, "The Science of Uncovering Forged Paintings," 17 Sep. 2018 President Trump is unpopular in Illinois, with approval ratings that don’t crack 40 percent, according to Morning Consult. Tara Golshan,, "Illinois results for every midterm race," 8 Nov. 2018 Almost weirder than Jughead’s casual disregard for his own life is Betty’s total lack of reaction to it later on—the two of them are cracking jokes about it at Veronica’s speakeasy! Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The 6 Craziest Things That Happened On Riverdale Tonight," 25 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Donors with the most points get first crack at choice seats when available, plus other benefits. Laura Saunders, WSJ, "Forget the Playoff, College Football’s Burning Question Is About Taxes," 16 Nov. 2018 Last year, Google took its first crack at wireless earbuds... and they weren’t particularly well-received. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "9 things to expect from the Google Pixel 3 event next week," 5 Oct. 2018 In 1946, the Eames took a crack at designing their own radio. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Eames’ lost 1946 radio design, once a flop, is making a comeback," 5 Oct. 2018 Zabaneh said the crack was found near a weld on a stress-bearing horizontal beam. Paul Elias, The Seattle Times, "San Francisco’s new transit terminal closes over beam crack," 25 Sep. 2018 As for tie-dye, the style had a resurgence on the runway a few seasons ago, with designers like Altuzarra, Michael Kors, and Rosie Assoulin all taking a stylish crack at the childhood favorite. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Selena Gomez Wore a Tie-Dye T-Shirt on Instagram," 7 Aug. 2018 Trice, who was locked up for selling crack at age 16, had turned his life around, and excelled at Community College of Philadelphia and at Howard University., "A former drug dealer made good and became a Philly teacher. So why is he thinking of leaving the profession?," 11 July 2018 Wall cracks and other minor damage were found at several schools. Fox News, "Japan earthquake kills 3 including 9-year-old girl; scores injured," 19 June 2018 Wall cracks and other minor damage were found at several schools. Mari Yamaguchi,, "Strong quake near Osaka, Japan, kills 4, damages buildings," 18 June 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


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


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


see crack entry 1


see crack entry 1

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Statistics for crack

Last Updated

17 Dec 2018

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



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 \
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 \

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 Encyclopedia article about crack

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