[ krak-ing ]
/ ˈkræk ɪŋ /


(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.

adjective Informal.

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

Idioms for cracking

    get cracking. crack(def 54).

Origin of cracking

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at crack, -ing1, -ing2

Definition for cracking (2 of 2)

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)


crack·a·ble, adjectivecrack·less, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for cracking

British Dictionary definitions for cracking (1 of 2)

/ (ˈkrækɪŋ) /


(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

adverb, adjective

British informal first-class; excellenta 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 catalysisSee also catalytic cracker

British Dictionary definitions for cracking (2 of 2)

/ (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

Scientific definitions for cracking

[ krăkĭng ]

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.

Idioms and Phrases with cracking


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