[ krak-ing ]
See synonyms for: crackingcrackings on

  1. (in the distillation of petroleum or the like) the process of breaking down certain hydrocarbons into simpler ones of lower boiling points by means of excess heat, distillation under pressure, etc., in order to give a greater yield of low-boiling products than could be obtained by simple distillation.: Compare catalytic cracking.

  1. extremely; unusually: We saw a cracking good match at the stadium.

  1. done with precision; smart: A cracking salute from the honor guard.

Idioms about cracking

  1. get cracking. crack (def. 54).

Origin of cracking

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English; see crack, -ing1, -ing2

Words Nearby cracking Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cracking in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cracking


/ (ˈkrækɪŋ) /

  1. (prenominal) informal fast; vigorous (esp in the phrase a cracking pace)

  2. get cracking informal to start doing something quickly or do something with increased speed

adverb, adjective
  1. British informal first-class; excellent: a cracking good match

  1. the process in which molecules are cracked, esp the oil-refining process in which heavy oils are broken down into hydrocarbons of lower molecular weight by heat or catalysis: See also catalytic cracker

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

Scientific definitions for cracking


[ krăkĭng ]

  1. The process of breaking down complex chemical compounds by heating them. Sometimes a catalyst is added to lower the amount of heat needed for the reaction. Cracking is used especially for breaking petroleum molecules into shorter molecules and to extract low-boiling fractions, such as gasoline, from petroleum. See also hydrocracking.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.