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

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

His annotations crackled with apocalypticism, offering readers a precise understanding of when the world would end and what would happen beforehand. Liya Rechtman,, "When the apocalypse is a feature, not a bug," 12 May 2018 The home around her transforms, too: the walls crackle upward and the floor warmly glows like pools of lava. Dani Deahl, The Verge, "Inside Imogen Heap’s cutting-edge VR concert," 23 Aug. 2018 Moving walls of thick gooey molten rock consumed asphalt roads on the Big Island as crackling red hot lava glowed underneath and plumes of thick black smoke blanketed above. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Hawaii volcano may threaten geothermal power plant; dozens of homes destroyed," 7 May 2018 Logs crackled in the stone fireplace at Mount Rainier’s National Park Inn, with tea and scones on a side table. Carol Pucci, The Seattle Times, "For a visit without the crowds, head to Mount Rainier in winter," 20 Feb. 2019 Relax and watch a log burn in a modern space, sip hot cocoa with a rustic fire crackling in the background, or even nap next to flames blazing in a boho fireplace, the options are practically endless. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "West Elm's Relaxing Yule Log Scenes In Chic Homes Will Make Your Season Bright," 31 Oct. 2018 Mtsvadi, hunks of pork grilled over grapevines until crackling and drippy, are a specialty at Nikala, a no-frills roadside restaurant in Vardisubani next to Chateau Mere wine hotel. Benjamin Kemper, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Guide to Georgian Wine Country," 5 Sep. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There’s the spit and crackle in the fireplace, the smell of burning juniper, and the warm spices of dal bhat being stirred on the kitchen stove. Sophy Roberts, Condé Nast Traveler, "On Your Next Trip to Nepal, Rent the House Sir Edmund Hillary Loved," 20 Dec. 2018 The crackle of gunfire, the carjacking of the minivan and the zigzagging chase that followed threw the mostly residential neighborhood around the Staten Island courthouse into chaos. Benjamin Mueller, New York Times, "Man Is Killed by Stolen Minivan After Gunfire Near Courthouse," 10 July 2018 The fried chicken is brined in apple cider and dredged in high-protein flour before frying, which gives the meat a touch of sweetness and the craggy crust an extra crackle. Matthew Kronsberg, WSJ, "A Fried Chicken Tasting Tour of Atlanta," 23 May 2018 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about crackle

Statistics for crackle

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for crackle

The first known use of crackle was circa 1560

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for crackle



English Language Learners Definition of crackle

: to make a series of short, sharp noises


crack·​le | \ ˈkra-kəl How to pronounce crackle (audio) \
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)

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on crackle

What made you want to look up crackle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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