verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
- (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.
- 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.
- to begin moving or working; start: Let's get cracking on these dirty dishes!
- to work or move more quickly.
Origin of crack
- the very instant that the sun rises
- very early in the morning
Word Origin for crack
"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).
Suffer an emotional breakdown, become insane, as in He might crack up under the strain. This usage alludes to the result of cracking one's skull; from the early 1600s to crack alone was used in this way. [Slang; early 1900s]
Damage or wreck a vehicle or vessel. For example, I'm always afraid that I'll crack up the car.
Experience a crash, as in We cracked up on the freeway in the middle of the ice storm.
Also, crack someone up. Burst or cause to burst out laughing, as in The audience cracked up, or That joke really cracked me up. [Slang; c. 1940] Also see break up, def. 6. All of these expressions derive from crack in the sense of “break into pieces” or “collapse,” a usage dating from the late 1600s. Also see cracked up.
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
- by jove (cracky)
- fall between the cracks
- get cracking
- hard nut to crack
- have a crack at
- make a crack
- not all it's cracked up to be
- paper over (the cracks)