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[hwak, wak] /ʰwæk, wæk/
verb (used with object)
to strike with a smart, resounding blow or blows.
Slang. to divide into or take in shares (often followed by up):
Whack the loot between us two.
verb (used without object)
to strike a smart, resounding blow or blows.
a smart, resounding blow:
a whack with his hand.
Informal. a trial or attempt:
to take a whack at a job.
Slang. a portion or share.
Verb phrases
whack off,
  1. to cut off or separate with a blow:
    The cook whacked off the fish's head.
  2. Slang: Vulgar. to masturbate.
whack out, Slang. to produce quickly or, sometimes, carelessly:
She whacks out a short story every week or so.
out of whack, Informal. out of order or alignment; not in proper condition.
Origin of whack
1710-20; orig. dial., Scots form of thwack; cf. whang2, whittle
Related forms
whacker, noun
5. try, go, turn. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for out of whack


verb (transitive)
to strike with a sharp resounding blow
(usually passive) (Brit, informal) to exhaust completely
(transitive; usu foll by in or on) (informal) to put something on to or into something else with force or abandon: whack on some sunscreen
(transitive) (US, slang) to murder: if you were out of line you got whacked
a sharp resounding blow or the noise made by such a blow
(informal) a share or portion
(informal) a try or attempt (esp in the phrase have a whack at)
(informal) out of whack, out of order; unbalanced: the whole system is out of whack
an exclamation imitating the noise of a sharp resounding blow
Derived Forms
whacker, noun
Word Origin
C18: perhaps a variant of thwack, ultimately of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for out of whack



"to strike sharply," 1719, probably of imitative origin. The noun is from 1737. The word in out of whack (1885) is perhaps the slang meaning "share, just portion" (1785), which may be from the notion of the blow that divides, or the rap of the auctioneer's hammer.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for out of whack

out of whack

adjective phrase

  1. Not operating; out of order; on the blink, out of kilter: My car's out of whack, so I'll take yours
  2. Not in adjustment, harmonious synchronism, etc; not in proper order: Our priorities are out of whack
  3. Strange; inexplicable; not right: It seems out of whack to me, then, that Jakobek was the only aldermanic candidate who had a great deal of support from the young

[1885+; probably fr whack, ''share, a just proportion,'' so called perhaps fr the blow that divides something or, like the auctioneer's hammer-rap, signals a fair share or deal]



  1. A hit; blow: to explore their manhood and give and take a few whacks (1737+)
  2. A try; bash, crack, shot: He was given a whack at drama reviewing (1891+)
  3. wack


  1. To strike; hit (1721+)
  2. (also whack out) To kill; execute, gangland style: the lieutenant took it personal when they whacked the witness (1980s+ Mobsters)
  3. (also wack) To dilute a narcotic; cut a narcotic (1960s+ Narcotics)

Related Terms

have a crack at something, out of whack, wack

[probably echoic; in second verb sense, the use of whacks, ''any form of force,'' is attested among Chicago gunmen in 1932]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with out of whack

out of whack

see under out of kilter


In addition to the idioms beginning with whack
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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