1 of 2


crack·​le ˈkra-kəl How to pronounce crackle (audio)
crackled; crackling ˈkra-k(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce crackle (audio)

intransitive verb

: to make small sharp sudden repeated noises
the fire crackles on the hearth
: to show animation : sparkle
the essays crackle with wit

transitive verb

: to crush or crack with snapping noises
cracklingly adverb


2 of 2


: the noise of repeated small cracks or reports
: a network of fine cracks on an otherwise smooth surface

Examples of crackle in a Sentence

Verb The logs crackled in the fire. The leaves crackled under our feet.
Recent Examples on the Web
Walkie-talkies crackled, signaling the arrival of the former president. Michael Rothfeld Emily Woo Zeller Krish Seenivasan David Mason, New York Times, 9 Apr. 2024 The overnight ferry from Surat Thani province was about to arrive at Koh Tao, a popular tourist destination off the Thai coast, when one of the passengers suddenly heard a crackling sound and smelled smoke. TIME, 4 Apr. 2024 The humor is deadpan and the fights feel deadly in a way that channels a very 21st century, post-John Wick style of snap, crackle and pow. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 9 Mar. 2024 Food cooks over the crackling flames of a live-fire hearth at Ardor Breads and Provisions. Detroit Free Press, 23 Feb. 2024 To peel eggs, the American Egg Board advises gently tapping each egg on a countertop until the shell is finely crackled all over. Liz Biro, The Indianapolis Star, 29 Mar. 2024 When a monster lurches from the thicket in Dragon’s Dogma 2, which arrives on Friday, the game crackles with the cadence of its fighting forebears: the swing of a sword — bang — followed by bone-crunching pow. Lewis Gordon, New York Times, 21 Mar. 2024 True to form, this sandwich crackles under tooth, down to the very last bite. Tim Carman, Washington Post, 28 Feb. 2024 Dave Christensen woke around 2 a.m. Feb. 5 to the sound of crackling outside his bedroom window and then what sounded like an explosion. Rong-Gong Lin Ii, Los Angeles Times, 15 Feb. 2024
The only time sparks fly are when that restorative tanning bed crackles and sputters. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 7 Feb. 2024 The crackle of the crunch on the crust is audible, giving way to a center that’s slightly chewy but mostly air. Jenn Harris, Los Angeles Times, 25 Mar. 2024 The crackle of vinyl runs implacably through his music like rain crinkling on trash bags, and, from the silence, snatches of breakbeat and fearsome industrial techno burst forward with fierce energy. Daniel Bromfield, SPIN, 13 Mar. 2024 The kitchen deploys just enough truffle oil to evoke the earth in the dumplings, plus shards of baked parmesan for some crackle. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, 8 Mar. 2024 The final cat-and-mouse scene between the measured Schreiber and the unbreakable Ryan crackles with intensity as the duo stalk each other on the stage. Dalton Ross,, 7 Mar. 2024 Overall, the panels are affordable and the subtle textured surface crackles, lend an air of sophistication. Michelle Duncan, Rolling Stone, 21 Feb. 2024 Swank, meanwhile, crackles with energy but lets the cracks show in the nights when Sharon has only her regrets to keep her company. Jen Yamato, Washington Post, 20 Feb. 2024 Shot around the time when protests broke out nationwide over the fate of Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after being arrested for not wearing her hijab properly, Cake crackles with the valiant, liberational energy of the Woman, Life, Freedom movement, an attitude baked right into its bones. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Feb. 2024

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

Word History



frequentative of crack entry 1

First Known Use


circa 1560, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


1833, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of crackle was circa 1560

Dictionary Entries Near crackle

Cite this Entry

“Crackle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


crackled; crackling
: to make small sharp sudden repeated noises
crackle noun

More from Merriam-Webster on crackle

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!