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

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Other Words from crackle


cracklingly adverb

Examples of crackle in a Sentence

Verb The logs crackled in the fire. The leaves crackled under our feet.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Sweet persimmon slices show up with a cloud of mascarpone and crackling Middle Eastern spices and ground nuts. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "It’s tough to score a table at this tiny Baltimore bistro, but you’ll be so happy you did," 11 Mar. 2020 Bozek’s interviews capture Cunningham’s crackling joyousness, but occasionally his subject will stop, mid-sentence, and look down, shielding himself from the camera. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "The Times of Bill Cunningham," 14 Feb. 2020 This both stalls the momentum and undermines Simien’s feel for cutting satire and crackling dialogue. David Canfield,, "Justin Simien delivers messy, provocative horror in Bad Hair: Sundance review," 24 Jan. 2020 Reporter of the Year: Alfredo Corchado Alfredo Corchado’s work crackles with deep sourcing and earned authority. Tom Steele, Dallas News, "Dallas Morning News honors 14 staff members, 2 teams as Journalists of the Year," 28 Feb. 2020 Even when the outcome seemed inevitable, their matches crackled with a special kind of electricity. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "Maria Sharapova Changed Tennis with Her Ambition, on and off the Court," 26 Feb. 2020 The excitement in Studio 8H was palpable, and the crowd’s reaction to each laugh line crackled with joy. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Eddie Murphy’s Triumphant Return to Saturday Night Live," 22 Dec. 2019 Impeachment is an 'energy spirit' The morning announcements crackled on. Ty Vinson, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana 4th graders do their best to honor the flag, struggle to understand impeachment," 24 Nov. 2019 The bun, a Jerusalem bagel, is cotton-y on the inside and crackled and pleasantly burnt on the outside, thanks to a vigorous smash in a panini press. Elyse Inamine, Bon Appétit, "This Breakfast Sandwich Is the Only Reason I’m Up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday," 29 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Then came a booming crackle on Tuesday night that sounded like gunfire and sent hundreds of people fleeing down side streets, huddling under neon storefronts and pounding on the doors for help outside crowded theaters, including the Shubert. Michael Wilson, New York Times, "There Was No Gunfire in Times Square. But the Panic Was Still Real.," 7 Aug. 2019 Tap figures prominently, most spectacularly in a ghoulishly clever number where one of the boys has a nightmare about dying in the electric chair, the clicks of his heels echoing the sizzle and crackle of the deadly current. Andrea Simakis, cleveland, "Kander and Ebb’s ‘The Scottsboro Boys’ at the Beck Center entrances as it weaves its story of savage racial injustice," 16 Feb. 2020 There was a crackle of lightning when that gate swung open. Bruce Jenkins,, "Memorable moments: Madison Bumgarner’s night for the ages," 31 Dec. 2019 Most importantly, the talent Gerwig demonstrated in Lady Bird for making an entire ensemble crackle with life is on display here as well, with Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh giving the standout performances among the March family. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The 10 Best Films of 2019," 5 Dec. 2019 There was the crackle of wood in the fire, distant voices in the background, the sounds of nature and a palpable absence of stress. Peter Kujawinski, New York Times, "Rich in Surprises and Secrets, There’s a State Park Waiting for You," 29 July 2019 Fuller’s 1981 drama, set in and around the barracks of a black unit languishing on a Louisiana Army base during World War II, retains some crackle, although the long reign of crime-solving TV series has drained it of uniqueness. Peter Marks, Washington Post, "Tried and true formulas work in ‘A Soldier’s Play’ and ‘Grand Horizons’," 24 Jan. 2020 The bells clank and the air crackles and the peaks look like cathedral spires. Chiara Goia, National Geographic, "Discover why this stunning region is Spain’s best-kept secret," 14 Dec. 2019 When a searing flash of lightning crackles through the sky, some spectators marvel at its brilliance, while others duck for cover. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Massive Lightning Strike May Have Inspired This Scottish Stone Circle," 31 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for crackle

Time Traveler

The first known use of crackle was circa 1560

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Statistics for crackle

Last Updated

25 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Crackle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for crackle


How to pronounce crackle (audio)

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)

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More from Merriam-Webster on crackle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crackle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with crackle

Spanish Central: Translation of crackle

Nglish: Translation of crackle for Spanish Speakers

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