crack·​le | \ ˈkra-kəl \
crackled; crackling\ ˈkra-​k(ə-​)liŋ \

Definition of crackle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to make small sharp sudden repeated noises the fire crackles on the hearth
b : to show animation : sparkle the essays crackle with wit

transitive verb

: to crush or crack with snapping noises



Definition of crackle (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the noise of repeated small cracks or reports
2 : a network of fine cracks on an otherwise smooth surface

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Other Words from crackle


cracklingly adverb

Examples of crackle in a Sentence


The logs crackled in the fire. The leaves crackled under our feet.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Tall Georgia pines frame rolling lawns, and fire pits crackle at dusk. Allison Weiss Entrekin, Condé Nast Traveler, "14 Best Hotels in Atlanta," 27 July 2018 The factory crackles with the familiar sound of sawing, hammering and drilling, but it’s mostly machines making them. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "With construction workers scarce, homebuilders turn to robots, software," 25 June 2018 Despite, or perhaps because of, the compromises, Oak Ridge succeeded in its mission; on August 6, 1945, President Truman’s voice crackled over the radio to announce the bombing of Hiroshima. Emily Strasser, Curbed, "A secret city opens up," 8 Aug. 2018 Buildings are flattened and smoke rises from crackling fires under a darkened sky. Haruka Nuga, The Seattle Times, "Japanese students use VR to recreate Hiroshima bombing," 7 Aug. 2018 Off-throttle, the exhaust spits and crackles charmingly, if a bit synthetically (engine and exhaust sounds are electronically enhanced through the sound system). Dan Neil, WSJ, "2019 BMW X4: Why You Should Skip the Upgrades," 27 July 2018 During their travels, their radio crackled with reports of crop dusters, dangerous flocks of birds, sky divers, drones and even Air Force One carrying the previous president. Marc Lacey, New York Times, "What Two Writers Found When They Bought a Plane and Touched Down on Main Street, U.S.A.," 12 June 2018 There’s a distinctly lo-fi aesthetic to the game, which crackles with the static of an old VHS tape and opens in an eerie kitchen where a cassette tape player sits, waiting. Verge Staff, The Verge, "Smart scares for smart people," 31 Oct. 2018 In Bel Air, where the phone lines usually crackle with tales of divorces, scandals, black tie events, or home remodels, the swim team was big news that summer. Patti Davis, Town & Country, "How Nancy Reagan and Her Daughter Grew Close After the President's Death," 18 Dec. 2012

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

All of the book’s chapters on the law crackle with energy. New York Times, "America Has Gone Off the Rails. Steven Brill Sees Ways to Get It Back on Track.," 2 July 2018 Her magical mix of crunch, crackle, squeeze and slurp had yielded a much better dish. F.k. Plous, WSJ, "Inventing a Thanksgiving Favorite," 16 Nov. 2018 Most of his previous projects involved measuring X-rays or gamma rays from various snaps, crackles and pops in the cosmos, most recently the High Energy Transient Explorer, used to study the cataclysms known as gamma-ray bursts. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, "Meet TESS, Seeker of Alien Worlds," 26 Mar. 2018 Duck breast with a side of fries sounds ridiculously simple, but look at the crackle on that duck skin, and listen to that echoing crunch on the fries. New York Times, "It’s Not Fake French, It’s Frenchette," 10 July 2018 The triplets' reunion story has been told countless times, but Wardle gives it the crackle and buzz of a good thriller. J.r. Jones, Chicago Reader, "Triplets ripped from family in a Nazi-like experiment, probed in Three Identical Strangers," 5 July 2018 Your dog may get a rush of adrenaline from the loud bangs and crackles, resulting in the belief that his life is at risk. Stephanie Petit,, "How to Stay Safe While Setting Off Fireworks This July 4th," 4 July 2018 Between the foie gras, presented as a trompe l’oeil strawberry, and the squab breast, whose skin is caramelized with sugar and cooked to a crackle, comes a dish whose trickery stumps even a seasoned cook. Jonathan Kauffman,, "Baumé in Palo Alto has two Michelin stars — and only two staff," 22 June 2018 The market is propitious, yet a metropolis’s crackle comes from the variety of its people and the intertwining of disparate lives. Justin Davidson, Daily Intelligencer, "Downtown Nashville Is Supposed to Be the Model of the Walkable 21st-Century City. I’m Not So Sure.," 8 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crackle.' 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 crackle


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


1833, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for crackle


frequentative of crack entry 1

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Statistics for crackle

Last Updated

17 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for crackle

The first known use of crackle was circa 1560

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More Definitions for crackle



English Language Learners Definition of crackle

: to make a series of short, sharp noises


crack·​le | \ ˈkra-kəl \
crackled; crackling

Kids Definition of crackle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make many small sharp noises
2 : to form little cracks in a surface



Kids Definition of crackle (Entry 2 of 2)

: the noise of repeated small cracks (as of burning wood)

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More from Merriam-Webster on crackle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with crackle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crackle

Spanish Central: Translation of crackle

Nglish: Translation of crackle for Spanish Speakers

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