Origin of crack

before 1000; Middle English crak(k)en (v.), crak (noun), Old English cracian to resound; akin to German krachen, Dutch kraken (v.), and German Krach, Dutch krak (noun)

Related forms

crack·a·ble, adjectivecrack·less, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for cracked up


/ (kræk) /




(prenominal) slang first-class; excellenta crack shot

Word Origin for crack

Old English cracian; related to Old High German krahhōn, Dutch kraken, Sanskrit gárjati he roars
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

Idioms and Phrases with cracked up (1 of 2)

cracked up


Past tense of crack up.


cracked up to be. Reputed to be. This expression is always used in a negative way, as in I don't think this book is all it's cracked up to be. It relies on the now obsolete use of to crack up to mean “to praise extravagantly.” It appeared in The Kentuckian: “He is not the thing he is cracked up for” (May 28, 1829). [Early 1800s]


Under the influence of crack (a form of cocaine). For example, “Who's cracked up, who's cracked out, and who's dead?” (World News Tonight, ABC-TV, May 12, 1992). [1980s]

Idioms and Phrases with cracked up (2 of 2)


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

also see:

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