\ 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 upThe 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 onThe 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 outa 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
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 The 49-member team still put on an impressive performance by capturing third place, making it the only non-California team to crack the top 10. Emmett Hall,, "Swim Fort Lauderdale Masters Team enjoys whirlwind competitive summer," 12 Sep. 2019 Too small an area of crust might just be locked in place by the generator, causing new fault lines to crack around it. Randall Munroe, Time, "This Comic Creator Hopes His Terrible Ideas for Producing Energy Will Inspire You to Think of Better Ones," 12 Sep. 2019 In 1981, at age 63, Trent failed to crack the top three for the first time in 10 Equinoxes. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "By setting an American age-group track record, one Anchorage runner pays tribute to another," 10 Sep. 2019 This property gives the walnut shell its higher tensile strength, making it much harder to crack, the researchers reported last month in Advanced Science. Ian Randall, Science | AAAS, "Why walnuts are such tough nuts to crack," 3 Sep. 2019 This work has already demonstrated that smaller RSA keys are vulnerable to cracking. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Snake oil or genius? Crown Sterling tells its side of Black Hat controversy," 29 Aug. 2019 Egyptian vultures, like the one pictured above, use rocks as tools to crack open tough ostrich eggs — a rare example of a tool-using bird. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Vultures will be showcased Labor Day weekend at San Diego Zoo Safari Park," 27 Aug. 2019 Scientific advancements have further propelled the field as researchers have begun to crack the code on many deadly genetic diseases. New York Times, "The $6 Million Drug Claim," 25 Aug. 2019 Pinpointing the host galaxies is essential to cracking the mystery of what causes FRBs. Elizabeth Gibney, Scientific American, "Astronomers Are Closer to Cracking the Mystery of Fast Radio Bursts," 15 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Atascocita will get another crack at the Houston area's elite teams in the playoffs but has a chance to gain momentum in district play. Adam Coleman, Houston Chronicle, "Friday night highlights: North Shore rallies past Westfield," 13 Sep. 2019 Rodgers will get a fresh crack at another rookie season after seeing his 2019 season end in July due to a labral tear of his right shoulder. Jeff Bailey, The Denver Post, "Rockies Insider: A four-step plan to improving Colorado’s first base situation heading into 2020," 13 Sep. 2019 The trade for Taylor made Miller and Willies expendable, and the trade for McCray sets up a competition at right guard among him, Wyatt Teller -- acquired Friday in a trade with the Lions -- and Eric Kush, who has first crack at the starting job. Mary Kay Cabot,, "Browns roster to 53: Jamie Gillan, Austin Seibert make the team; WR Taywan Taylor and guard Justin McCray acquired in trades," 31 Aug. 2019 This Friday, Trinity gets another crack at Indiana's top dog as new No. Matthew Glenesk, Indianapolis Star, "Watch live high school football: No. 1 Warren Central vs. Louisville Trinity," 28 Aug. 2019 In July, keepers decided to give Skipper and Ping a real crack at parenthood. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "A gay penguin couple adopted an egg in a Berlin zoo," 13 Aug. 2019 Kingsbury has said rookie Zach Allen, the team’s third-round pick out of Boston College, will get the first crack at replacing Philon as the team’s starting left defensive end. Bob Mcmanaman, azcentral, "Cardinals re-sign Pasoni Tasini, activate Charles Clay and Brandon Williams off PUP list," 11 Aug. 2019 Jaylon Redd, Jevon Holland, Deommodore Lenoir and Travis Dye will all be part of the group that gets a crack at the jobs., "Dallas Warmack, Brady Aiello top Oregon’s position battles to be determined during fall camp," 1 Aug. 2019 These particles would be abundant, but so shy about interacting with ordinary matter that only very sensitive detectors would have a crack at catching them. Juanita Bawagan, Science | AAAS, "If this type of dark matter existed, people would be dying of unexplained ‘gunshot’ wounds," 19 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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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More Definitions for crack


How to pronounce crack (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on crack

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crack

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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