(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.
extremely; unusually: We saw a cracking good match at the stadium.
done with precision; smart: A cracking salute from the honor guard.
Idioms about cracking
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use cracking in a sentence
For free speech, but the cracking of skulls if it comes to it.Four Years After Deadly Rally, Charlottesville Nazis Are Headed to Court | Kelly Weill | October 25, 2021 | The Daily Beast
That in turn would help prevent cracking, which often occurs when the exterior of a piece of wood dries out faster than the interior.You might like Stradivarius violins because worms hate them | Sara Chodosh | August 18, 2021 | Popular-Science
You have things like no sewer pipes and other things that are greasy and cracking.Better cybersecurity means finding the “unknown unknowns” | MIT Technology Review Insights | May 26, 2021 | MIT Technology Review
One chiro I follow adjusts baby spines, slowly, carefully, with basically no audible cracking.Help, I’m Obsessed with Chiropractors on Instagram | Grace Perry | April 21, 2021 | Outside Online
The party that controls the maps can grab power through packing or cracking.How next-gen computer generated maps detect partisan gerrymandering | Sujata Gupta | September 7, 2020 | Science News
The Communist Party of China gets a bad rap for cracking down on religion.The Buddhist Business of Poaching Animals for Good Karma | Brendon Hong | December 28, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Protestors say the president is cracking down on free speech.
It was a street-sweep, and violence had broken out, and the government was cracking down.Jon Stewart Talks ‘Rosewater’ and the ‘Chickensh-t’ Democrats’ Midterm Massacre | Marlow Stern | November 9, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
For a country forever cracking down on those perceived as veering from the sexual norm, being gay is finally starting to pay.
The more accomplished students took classes in safe-cracking, burglary, blackmail, and confidence games.Meet 'The Queen of Thieves' Marm Mandelbaum, New York City's First Mob Boss | J. North Conway | September 7, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
His foot caught; it is unknown in what,—in a twisted tie, or perhaps in a crevice of the cracking earth.A Lost Hero | Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward and Herbert D. Ward
Along the shore they sped, speaking not a word till they had got the village in sight and their arms were cracking in the joints.The Rival Campers | Ruel Perley Smith
After waiting long, the hunters heard high above them a cracking, rushing sound; and suddenly they saw a great, hovering object.Rudy and Babette | Hans Christian Andersen
"Up to sixteen thousand tons," Darrin replied, without cracking a smile.Uncle Sam's Boys as Lieutenants | H. Irving Hancock
Neither did his ears hear at first a low muffled cracking that had been going on for some time.Mushroom Town | Oliver Onions
British Dictionary definitions for cracking
(prenominal) informal fast; vigorous (esp in the phrase a cracking pace)
get cracking informal to start doing something quickly or do something with increased speed
British informal first-class; excellent: a cracking good match
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
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.