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

b : sparkle, effervescence

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

Their carriage rumbled and crackled over the Craigie Bridge. Paul Collins,, "What lies in the lab: The gruesome murder at Harvard that transfixed New England," 11 July 2018 The rosemary crackles and burns immediately after sprigs are placed on the grill. Chuck Blount, San Antonio Express-News, "Add a little more flavor to your grill with fragrant ingredients," 2 July 2018 And fireworks will crackle over the Killarney House & Gardens, a sprawling estate. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "How some Sacramentans will celebrate Independence Day in a town 4,000 miles from U.S.," 1 July 2018 Long after most of his Gen-X peers have settled into cozy nostalgia, Reznor is still making records that crackle with restless energy. Terence Cawley,, "A short, not-at-all sweet dispatch from Nine Inch Nails," 20 June 2018 But in rural, conservative parts of the country where farm fields crackle with target practice and children grow up turkey hunting with their parents, the new wave of student activism clashes with bedrock support for gun rights. Jack Healy, New York Times, "‘Almost No One Agrees With Us’: For Rural Students, Gun Control Can Be a Lonely Cause," 22 May 2018 The dish, a specialty of Indonesia’s southern islands, is usually the centerpiece at big feasts: whole suckling pig stuffed with lemongrass and turmeric, trussed up, and slow cooked over coals until its crackling skin turns the color of caramel. Garrett Snyder, Los Angeles Magazine, "Restaurant Review: Kasih Has Bold Indonesian Flavors With a High-Gloss Finish," 22 May 2018 Brown lopes across the playground as a police radio crackles and a gaggle of kids watch, probably expecting the tall officer to land in a heap in the playground’s mulch. Justin Jouvenal, Washington Post, "A D.C. police officer and a kid had a backflip contest. The results went viral.," 3 July 2018 But less than 30 minutes later, the Cape Cod beach crackled with energy, as a small stretch of sand became a runway to the surf, lined by dozens of people eager to witness the return of five loggerhead sea turtles to the ocean. Emily Williams,, "Five loggerhead sea turtles return to ocean after 6 months at aquarium hospital," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The revelations that follow crackle with the same glowing, essential truths. Wired Staff, WIRED, "12 Books You Must Read This Summer," 25 May 2018 The Garbage Times and White Ibis, a new pair of related novellas by Sam Pink, crackle with humanistic intimacy. Michael Friedrich, The New Republic, "Spirit of the Strip Mall," 24 May 2018 What would the Fourth of July be without some snap, crackle and pop-punk? Don Maines, Houston Chronicle, "Pop-punk band to provide musical fireworks," 20 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

8 Oct 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

See words that rhyme with 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).


to reject or criticize sharply

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