- to break without complete separation of parts; become fissured: The plate cracked when I dropped it, but it was still usable.
- to break with a sudden, sharp sound: The branch cracked under the weight of the snow.
- to make a sudden, sharp sound in or as if in breaking; snap: The whip cracked.
- (of the voice) to break abruptly and discordantly, especially into an upper register, as because of weariness or emotion.
- to fail; give way: His confidence cracked under the strain.
- to succumb or break down, especially under severe psychological pressure, torture, or the like: They questioned him steadily for 24 hours before he finally cracked.
- Chemistry. to decompose as a result of being subjected to heat.
- Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S. to brag; boast.
- Chiefly Scot. to chat; gossip.
- to cause to make a sudden sharp sound: The driver cracked the whip.
- to break without complete separation of parts; break into fissures.
- to break with a sudden, sharp sound: to crack walnuts.
- to strike and thereby make a sharp noise: The boxer cracked his opponent on the jaw.
- to induce or cause to be stricken with sorrow or emotion; affect deeply.
- to utter or tell: to crack jokes.
- to cause to make a cracking sound: to crack one's knuckles.
- to damage, weaken, etc.: The new evidence against him cracked his composure.
- to make mentally unsound.
- to make (the voice) harsh or unmanageable.
- to solve; decipher: to crack a murder case.
- Informal. to break into (a safe, vault, etc.).
- Chemistry. to subject to the process of cracking, as in the distillation of petroleum.
- Informal. to open and drink (a bottle of wine, liquor, beer, etc.).
- a break without complete separation of parts; fissure.
- a slight opening, as between boards in a floor or wall, or between a door and its doorpost.
- a sudden, sharp noise, as of something breaking.
- the snap of or as of a whip.
- a resounding blow: He received a terrific crack on the head when the branch fell.
- Informal. a witty or cutting remark; wisecrack.
- a break or change in the flow or tone of the voice.
- Informal. opportunity; chance; try: Give him first crack at the new job.
- a flaw or defect.
- Also called rock. Slang. pellet-size pieces of highly purified cocaine, prepared with other ingredients for smoking, and known to be especially potent and addicting.
- Masonry. check1(def 41).
- a mental defect or deficiency.
- a shot, as with a rifle: At the first crack, the deer fell.
- a moment; instant: He was on his feet again in a crack.
- Slang. a burglary, especially an instance of housebreaking.
- Chiefly British. a person or thing that excels in some respect.
- Slang: Vulgar. the vulva.
- Chiefly Scot. conversation; chat.
- British Dialect. boasting; braggadocio.
- Archaic. a burglar.
- first-rate; excellent: a crack shot.
- with a cracking sound.
- crack down, to take severe or stern measures, especially in enforcing obedience to laws or regulations: The police are starting to crack down on local drug dealers.
- crack off, to cause (a piece of hot glass) to fall from a blowpipe or punty.
- crack on, Nautical.
- (of a sailing vessel) to sail in high winds under sails that would normally be furled.
- (of a power vessel) to advance at full speed in heavy weather.
- crack up, Informal.
- to suffer a mental or emotional breakdown.
- to crash, as in an automobile or airplane: He skidded into the telephone pole and cracked up.
- to wreck an automobile, airplane, or other vehicle.
- to laugh or to cause to laugh unrestrainedly: That story about the revolving door really cracked me up. Ed cracked up, too, when he heard it.
- crack a book, Informal. to open a book in order to study or read: He hardly ever cracked a book.
- crack a smile, Informal. to smile.
- crack wise, Slang. to wisecrack: We tried to be serious, but he was always cracking wise.
- fall through the cracks, to be overlooked, missed, or neglected: In any inspection process some defective materials will fall through the cracks.Also slip between the cracks.
- get cracking, Informal.
- to begin moving or working; start: Let's get cracking on these dirty dishes!
- to work or move more quickly.
Origin of crack
- to take severe measures (against); become stricter (with)
- severe or repressive measures
- to break or cause to break without complete separation of the partsthe vase was cracked but unbroken
- to break or cause to break with a sudden sharp sound; snapto crack a nut
- to make or cause to make a sudden sharp soundto crack a whip
- to cause (the voice) to change tone or become harsh or (of the voice) to change tone, esp to a higher register; break
- informal to fail or cause to fail
- to yield or cause to yieldto crack under torture
- (tr) to hit with a forceful or resounding blow
- (tr) to break into or force opento crack a safe
- (tr) to solve or decipher (a code, problem, etc)
- (tr) informal to tell (a joke, etc)
- to break (a molecule) into smaller molecules or radicals by the action of heat, as in the distillation of petroleum
- (tr) to open (esp a bottle) for drinkinglet's crack another bottle
- (intr) Scot and Northern English dialect to chat; gossip
- (tr) informal to achieve (esp in the phrase crack it)
- (tr) Australian informal to find or catchto crack a wave in surfing
- crack a smile informal to break into a smile
- crack hardy or crack hearty Australian and NZ informal to disguise one's discomfort, etc; put on a bold front
- crack the whip informal to assert one's authority, esp to put people under pressure to work harder
- a sudden sharp noise
- a break or fracture without complete separation of the two partsa crack in the window
- a narrow opening or fissure
- informal a resounding blow
- a physical or mental defect; flaw
- a moment or specific instantthe crack of day
- a broken or cracked tone of voice, as a boy's during puberty
- (often foll by at) informal an attempt; opportunity to tryhe had a crack at the problem
- slang a gibe; wisecrack; joke
- slang a person that excels
- Scot and Northern English dialect a talk; chat
- slang a processed form of cocaine hydrochloride used as a stimulant. It is highly addictive
- Also: craic informal, mainly Irish fun; informal entertainmentthe crack was great in here last night
- obsolete, slang a burglar or burglary
- crack of dawn
- the very instant that the sun rises
- very early in the morning
- a fair crack of the whip informal a fair chance or opportunity
- crack of doom doomsday; the end of the world; the Day of Judgment
- (prenominal) slang first-class; excellenta crack shot
Word Origin and History for crack down
"split, opening," 14c., from crack (v.). Meaning "try, attempt" first attested 1836, probably a hunting metaphor, from slang sense of "fire a gun." Meaning "rock cocaine" is first attested 1985. The superstition that it is bad luck to step on sidewalk cracks has been traced to c.1890. Adjectival meaning in "top-notch, superior" is slang from 1793 (e.g. a crack shot).
Idioms and Phrases with crack down
Act more forcefully to regulate, repress, or restrain. For example, The police cracked down on speeding. [1930s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with crack
- crack a book
- crack a bottle
- crack a joke
- crack a smile
- crack down
- cracked up
- crack of dawn
- crack the whip
- crack up