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crack a joke

Make a joke, say something humorous, as in You can count on Grandpa to crack a joke on every occasion. This expression uses the verb to crack in the now obsolete sense of “briskly pronounce” or “boast.” [Early 1700s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.