1 of 2


: crash, wreck
an automobile crack-up
: a mental collapse : nervous breakdown
his wife's death brought on his crack-up

crack up

2 of 2


cracked up; cracking up; cracks up

transitive verb

: praise, tout sense 1
wasn't all that it was cracked up to be
: to damage or destroy (a vehicle) by crashing
crack up a car
: to cause to laugh out loud
that joke really cracks him up

intransitive verb

: to damage or destroy a vehicle (as by losing control)
cracked up on a curve
: to laugh out loud

Examples of crack-up in a Sentence

Verb that sports car isn't all it's cracked up to be the movie is being cracked up as the blockbuster of the summer
Recent Examples on the Web
And all the better to make his crack-up that much more disorienting and unsettling. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 7 Oct. 2023 Despite their differences on policy, there is little reason to expect a crack-up between the Hungarian and American right in the near future. Emily Tamkin, The New Republic, 22 Sep. 2023 The movie tracks Carl’s descent, his crack-up, and his slow waking up to reality. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 4 Apr. 2023 This season’s minor time jump is a shrewd choice all the same, giving the characters a bit of time to process the Roy family’s biggest crack-up yet. Joshua Alston, Variety, 22 Mar. 2023 Johnson’s crack-up inserts a nagging question mark into the very idea of mammoth land-art projects. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 10 Mar. 2023
The man cracked up even when there was no evident punch line on the horizon. Thomas Chatterton Williams, The Atlantic, 9 Feb. 2024 Instead, the discussion devolved into Barry singing about Saltburn, insults, and Fallon’s trademark attempts to not break character and crack up mid-sketch. Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone, 28 Jan. 2024 Then eventually the three of us went to this party in Brooklyn and stayed way later than everyone else and ended up sleeping in the basement and eating chicken tenders and cracking up together, super-late at night. Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2023 Everybody is getting so cracked up about Vegas, keep bringing up Vegas. Sean Neumann, Peoplemag, 8 Jan. 2024 Just nine days ago, Los Angeles comic Neel Nanda was headlining a Toronto comedy club for the first time, cracking up the crowd and inviting fans to help celebrate his birthday weekend with him downtown after the show. Craig Nakano, Los Angeles Times, 24 Dec. 2023 This viral TikTok hack might not be all it's cracked up to be—keep the oranges away from your pillows. Christianna Silva, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 Oct. 2023 Inspired by Page’s blessing, Sakurai leaves his family and job behind to bring his act to Los Angeles, only to discover the American dream isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Beatrice Verhoeven, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Dec. 2023 And those were the scenes where Kieran [Culkin] was famously cracking up on the Zoom. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 20 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'crack-up.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


circa 1926, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1829, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of crack-up was in 1829

Dictionary Entries Near crack-up

Cite this Entry

“Crack-up.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun

crack up

2 of 2 verb
: praise sense 1, tout
it's not all it's cracked up to be
: to cause or have a crack-up
crack up a car

More from Merriam-Webster on crack-up

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