\ 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

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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 These Spaghetti Western bubbles would have made even Lee Van Cleef crack a smile. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Stanley Tucci’s Italian travel show inspires a ‘Big Night’ of food and wine," 27 Mar. 2021 For me, one of the film’s most powerful images was the handwritten schedule of your daily activities — crack of dawn music and dance practicing, school, violin lessons and ballet classes in the afternoon, all booked to the minute., "New PBS documentary illuminates choreographer Twyla Tharp’s expansive, trailblazing career," 25 Mar. 2021 Isabel would crack the curtain in her bedroom to get some light from the parking lot while teaching herself how to draw. Michael Brunker, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Someone San Diego Should Know: Billy Moore," 11 Mar. 2021 Perhaps this determination would crack in the face of even direr conditions, but a mass famine did not force the regime to abandon its nuclear program in the 1990s. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Korea?," 8 Mar. 2021 Worse, in the winter months or dry climates dry skin can even crack and cause infection. Laura Wheatman Hill,, "How to get rid of dry skin," 2 Mar. 2021 Not only did the dark comedy crack the Globes’ Screenplay race, but, even more impressive, Fennell nabbed a berth in the Best Director category, ensuring a majority-female directing slate for the first time ever. Nate Jones, Vulture, "Oscar Futures: After Globe and SAG Noms, the Race Finally Gets Real," 5 Feb. 2021 Two days after erupting for 47 points on a flurry of 3-pointers against Georgetown, Colorado didn’t crack 20 until a McKinley Wright tip in at the halftime horn. Tom Noie, The Indianapolis Star, "Anthony Polite opens up for Florida State in not-sot-polite trouncing of Colorado," 23 Mar. 2021 Don’t use cold water, according to many cast-iron experts; the thermal shock might crack it. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, "How to Season Any Cast-Iron Pan so It Shines Like New," 19 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In an interview last year on rapper Talib Kweli's People's Party show, DMX said his drug abuse started at age 14 when his then-mentor gave him a blunt laced with crack. NBC News, "DMX remains on life support after heart attack, lawyer says," 3 Apr. 2021 The impact left her with a large crack across her rear shell, blindness in her right eye and partial paralysis in her rear flippers. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: How a Chula Vista sea turtle was saved by a wetsuit," 13 Mar. 2021 With every crack the darkness of the bedroom was flooded with light. Regina Marler, The New York Review of Books, "The Emergency Everywhere," 9 Mar. 2021 Frazier grew up watching the crack epidemic infiltrate the community and, with it, the rise of war on drugs policies effectively designed to criminalize the poor. New York Times, "LaToya Ruby Frazier, American Witness," 1 Mar. 2021 The new season kicks off Wednesday and opens on New Year's Eve in 1985 with crack ravaging the streets of South Central Los Angeles and the CIA using drug money to fuel its influence in Latin America. Mark Kennedy, Star Tribune, "Damson Idris leads ambitious 'Snowfall' into a new season," 23 Feb. 2021 Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister in charge of the grueling talks, looking exhausted but delighted, reached for his gavel and brought it down with a resounding crack. Fiona Harvey, Wired, "Can the Paris Agreement Still Avert Climate Chaos?," 26 Dec. 2020 The script saves some of its most fiery material for them, the kind of thunderbolt Sorkin-isms that land with a satisfying crack. Leah Greenblatt,, "Aaron Sorkin goes big and busy in true-life political drama The Trial of the Chicago 7: Review," 25 Sep. 2020 The middle of the wall was striped with a vein of dark brown rock with a narrow crack in the middle. Mark Synnott, National Geographic, "Our team climbed Everest to try to solve its greatest mystery," 16 June 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

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Crack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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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 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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