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crack·​ing ˈkra-kiŋ How to pronounce cracking (audio)
: very impressive or effective : great


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: very, extremely
a cracking good book


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: a process in which relatively heavy hydrocarbons are broken up by heat into lighter products (such as gasoline)
US politics : a form of gerrymandering in which election districts are drawn in such a way that voters likely to support the opposing party are spread among multiple districts to dilute the power of their votes
Using the classic gerrymandering technique, cracking, they divided Salt Lake City (a Democrat stronghold) among three districts to drown out its Democratic voters with neighboring heavily Republican turf.Justin F. Thulin
compare packing sense 3




Examples of cracking in a Sentence

Adjective I think it's a cracking story. a writer renowned for her cracking tales of mystery and suspense Adverb tells a cracking good tale of a search for a lost city
Recent Examples on the Web
This would be a disaster in modern concrete, producing micro-cracking and serious deterioration of the structure. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 1 Jan. 2022 Another uninspired performance coupled with a a heavy defeat may well spell the end for the Basque manager at the Emirates, so this fixture should have plenty of undertones and be a cracking game of football., 28 Oct. 2019 This is shaping up to be a cracking game at Old Trafford that United will probably edge., 6 Aug. 2019 His fortunes finally turned back Wednesday, when van Garderen laid down a cracking time trial at the Tour of California. sacbee, 16 May 2018 The National Flood Insurance Program, a vital but cracking foundation for homeowners and businesses alike in south Louisiana, expires in one month. Drew Broach,, 31 May 2018
Peyton missed cracking jokes with her family while eating their mother’s special chicken curry and watching K-pop YouTube videos in their living room. Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Sep. 2023 Also Read Outside Lands at 15: How the San Francisco Festival Became a Local Celebration Father John Misty’s crowd: Not only was Josh Tillman in good spirits, cracking joke after joke, but the audience was also in prime form as well. Daniel Kohn, Spin, 14 Aug. 2023 Rhino Wax's snout soothers are also great for dogs who enjoy spending time outdoors in harsh weather conditions, as dryness and cracking can be common during the winter months. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 21 May 2023 That was an encouraging sign that a stubborn component of inflation is finally on the verge of cracking, but it was also driven partly by a moderation in travel expenses that might not last, said Laura Rosner-Warburton, senior economist at MacroPolicy Perspectives. Jeanna Smialek, New York Times, 10 May 2023 To get into legitimate accounts a bot may be designed to guess passwords, which is called credential cracking. Emma Fox, Los Angeles Times, 27 July 2023 The next year, a submersible expert heard cracking sounds during a Titan dive in the Bahamas and, in an email to Rush, begged him to suspend operations. John Branch,, 2 July 2023 Password cracking also relies on a technique called brute force, which, despite its misuse as a generic term for cracking, is distinctly different from cracks that use words from a list. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 12 Apr. 2023 On the other hand, faux leather isn’t very repairable, and fixes to improve peeling and cracking don’t usually last. Popular Science, 3 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cracking.' 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


1830, in the meaning defined above


1903, in the meaning defined above


1868, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cracking was in 1830

Dictionary Entries Near cracking

Cite this Entry

“Cracking.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a process in which heavy hydrocarbons (as oils from petroleum) are broken up by heat into lighter products (as gasoline)

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