\ ˈkrak How to pronounce crack (audio) \
cracked; cracking; cracks

Definition of crack

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to make a very sharp explosive sound The whip cracks through the air.
2 : to break, split, or snap apart The statue cracked when she dropped it.
3 : fail: such as
a : to lose control or effectiveness under pressure often used with upThe stress was so great that she started to crack up.
b : to fail in tone His voice cracked.
4 : to go or travel at good speed usually used with onThe steamboat cracked on.

transitive verb

1a : to break so that fissures appear on the surface crack a mirror
b : to break with a sudden sharp sound crack nuts
2 : to tell especially suddenly or strikingly crack a joke
3 : to strike with a sharp noise : rap then cracks him over the head cracked a two-run homer in the eighth
4a(1) : to open (something, such as a bottle) for drinking
(2) : to open (a book) for studying
b : to puzzle out and expose, solve, or reveal the mystery of crack a code
c : to break into crack a safe
d : to open slightly crack the throttle
e : to break through (something, such as a barrier) so as to gain acceptance or recognition … on track to crack Hollywood after landing a big screen role.— Ed Gleave and Peter Dyke
f : to show or begin showing (a smile) especially reluctantly or uncharacteristically
5a : to impair seriously or irreparably : wreck crack an opponent's courage
b : to destroy the tone of (a voice)
c : disorder, craze Worry had cracked his otherwise cheerful disposition.
d : to interrupt sharply or abruptly The criticism cracked our complacency.
6 : to cause to make a sharp noise cracks his knuckles
7a(1) : to subject (hydrocarbons) to cracking
(2) : to produce by cracking cracked gasoline
b : to break up (chemical compounds) into simpler compounds by means of heat
crack the whip
: to adopt or apply an authoritative, tyrannical, or threatening approach or policy (as in demanding harder work from employees) The team needs a coach who isn't afraid to crack the whip.
crack wise
: to make a wisecrack The comedian often cracked wise about prominent politicians.



Definition of crack (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : a loud roll or peal a crack of thunder
b : a sudden sharp noise the crack of rifle fire
2 : a sharp witty remark : quip
3a : a narrow break : fissure a crack in the ice
b : a narrow opening Leave the door open a crack. cracks between floorboards used figuratively in phrases like fall through the cracks to describe one that has been improperly or inadvertently ignored or left outa player who fell through the cracks in the college draftChildren slipping through the cracks of available youth services.
4a : a weakness or flaw caused by decay, age, or deficiency : unsoundness
b : a broken tone of the voice
5 : moment, instant the crack of dawn
7 : a sharp resounding blow gave him a crack on the head
8 : an attempt or opportunity to do something her first crack at writing a novel got first crack at the job opening
9 or crack cocaine : a potent form of cocaine that is obtained by treating the hydrochloride of cocaine with sodium bicarbonate to create small chips used illicitly for smoking



Definition of crack (Entry 3 of 3)

: of superior excellence or ability a crack marksman

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Examples of crack in a Sentence

Verb The hailstones were big enough to crack some windows. He cracked his collarbone in a skiing accident. The mirror cracked when she dropped it. Workers cracked the large rock into three pieces so it could be moved. The bird cracked the seed on a tree branch. a tool used for cracking nuts He cracked open the eggs. Someone cracked him over the head with a beer bottle. The baby cracked her chin pretty hard when she fell. He fell and cracked his elbow on the ice. Noun The crack runs all the way from the top of the wall to the bottom. an old patio with grass growing up through the cracks The vase has a few fine cracks, but it is still usable. I could see them through the crack in the doorway. Light came through the cracks in the walls of the barn. Adjective The company has a crack sales force. known as one of the college's crack tennis players
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The truth is, our own birth certificate, the Declaration of Independence, was designed to sail high, flash across the sky, and crack open a brutally racist world. Michael D. Capaldi, National Review, "The Lies We’re Told about the American Story," 24 Oct. 2020 Bad Bunny couldn’t help but crack a smile midshoot as traffic stopped and a growing number of young fans clamored for his attention. Los Angeles Times, "Bad Bunny, with a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, gets Boyle Heights trending on Twitter," 23 Oct. 2020 John Dean, 31, saw a bulky branch rip off the trunk of a pine tree 10 feet from his house and crack onto the corner of an awning, unseating nails and wood paneling. New York Times, "Hurricane Delta Brings Floods and Destruction to an Already Battered Louisiana," 10 Oct. 2020 The stiff suspension punishes the driver at every pothole and crack. Eric Tingwall, Car and Driver, "$50,000 Sports Sedans Compared: 2020 BMW M235i Gran Coupe vs. 2020 Cadillac CT4-V vs. 2020 Mercedes-AMG A35," 8 Oct. 2020 So naturally, TikTokers gathered on the app to react, process, and crack jokes after last night's debate. Michelle Santiago Cortés,, "These Debate TikToks Won’t Help At All, But Maybe You’ll Laugh," 30 Sep. 2020 But, there are important subfloor rules for materials like porcelain and stone tile, which isn't flexible and can crack with any movement or deflection. Sarah Baird, House Beautiful, "Building a Solid Foundation," 14 Sep. 2020 This single vocab shift will unlock creative potential faster than a bank robber can crack a bike lock. Josh Linkner, Detroit Free Press, "Change one word to boost creativity," 3 Oct. 2020 Around that time, the H.I.V./AIDS epidemic surfaced, crack cocaine hit the streets and the drug trade emerged as a choice of desperation for unemployed and underemployed young men and women of color. Fernanda Santos, New York Times, "Elderly and Homeless: America’s Next Housing Crisis," 30 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Anti-drug campaigns were common during the 1980s and 1990s when crack-cocaine and heroin were the substances that elicited the most headlines. Tony Holt, Arkansas Online, "Substance abuse in Arkansas a worry during pandemic, officials say," 27 Oct. 2020 The trap door has enough of a crack around it to suffice as a vent. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "As you prepare for another Alaska winter, here’s how to make a root cellar," 24 Oct. 2020 The sinkhole was a result of a crack in the storm drain beneath the roadway, according to Murphy. Katelyn Keenehan, The Arizona Republic, "Sinkhole emerges near 19th and Northern avenues on Thursday," 23 Oct. 2020 The anti-crime sentiments weren’t limited to the federal government or to conservative politicians, especially as the crack cocaine epidemic infected American cities. Washington Post, "Communities and companies made money off George Floyd’s imprisonment. Inside, Floyd withered.," 19 Oct. 2020 Roseville City Councilman Charles Frontera, 32, was arraigned via Zoom on Wednesday for charges of crack cocaine possession, less than 25 grams, and maintaining a drug house, records show. David Aaro, Fox News, "Michigan city council member charged with allegedly running drug house: reports," 19 Oct. 2020 He was arrested for possession of crack cocaine and driving while intoxicated and spent 4.5 months in a treatment center. Katherine J Igoe, Marie Claire, "Who Is Zac Clark, the 'Bachelorette' Frontrunner With a Courageous Backstory?," 13 Oct. 2020 The number of ports required will depend on the length of the crack. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Waterproof Your Basement," 12 Oct. 2020 In the previous episodes, Hannah is beset by hallucinations of an inexplicably creepy crack. Ariana Romero,, "The Haunting Of Bly Manor’s Hannah Explains That Episode — & The Crack," 11 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Among the drugs detectives seized were crack cocaine, oxycodone, MDMA and cannabis. Wayne K. Roustan,, "Sweeps target gang activity; guns, drugs and cash confiscated," 20 Sep. 2019 Police recovered suspected crack cocaine, suspected marijuana, a short straw, a metal spoon and a knife. Bruce Geiselman,, "Trespassing suspect found with 3 watches: North Olmsted Police Blotter," 10 Aug. 2019 Follow along with The Post's crack whip count on where Senate Republicans stand on the revised health-care plan. Paige Winfield Cunningham, Washington Post, "The Health 202: Trump administration tells moderates to trust it on health care," 14 July 2017

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1793, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for crack

Verb, Noun, and Adjective

Middle English crakken, from Old English cracian; akin to Old High German chrahhōn to resound

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Time Traveler for crack

Time Traveler

The first known use of crack was before the 12th century

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Statistics for crack

Last Updated

29 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Crack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for crack


How to pronounce crack (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of crack

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to break (something) so that there are lines in its surface but it is usually not separated into pieces
: to hit or press (something) so hard that it breaks apart or opens suddenly
: to hit (someone or something) hard and usually suddenly



English Language Learners Definition of crack (Entry 2 of 3)

: a thin line in the surface of something that is broken but not separated into pieces
: a very narrow space or opening between two things or two parts of something
: a sudden loud, sharp sound



English Language Learners Definition of crack (Entry 3 of 3)

: very good : of excellent quality or ability


\ ˈkrak How to pronounce crack (audio) \
cracked; cracking

Kids Definition of crack

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to break or cause to break with a sudden sharp sound crack an egg
2 : to break often without completely separating into parts The ice cracked in several places.
3 : to make or cause to make a sound as if breaking crack a whip
4 : to open a small amount crack a window
5 : to tell (a joke) especially in a clever way
6 : to lose self-control He cracked under the strain.
7 : to change in tone quality My voice cracked from emotion.
8 : to strike or receive a sharp blow … I bounced sideways and cracked my head on the half-open window …— Jack Gantos, Joey Pigza Loses Control
9 : solve I cracked the code.
crack up
1 : to have a reputation as a result of praise The show wasn't as good as it was cracked up to be.
2 : to damage or destroy (a vehicle) by crashing
3 : to laugh or cause to laugh Her costume cracked me up.



Kids Definition of crack (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a narrow break or opening a crack in the glass
2 : a sudden sharp noise a crack of thunder
3 : a sharp clever remark
4 : a broken tone of the voice
5 : the beginning moment I awoke at the crack of dawn.
6 : a sharp blow
7 : attempt entry 2 It was my first crack at writing.



Kids Definition of crack (Entry 3 of 3)

: of high quality or ability crack troops


noun, often attributive
\ ˈkrak How to pronounce crack (audio) \

Medical Definition of crack

: a potent form of cocaine that is obtained by treating the hydrochloride of cocaine with sodium bicarbonate to create small chips used illicitly usually for smoking

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