[krak-ling or for 2, 3, -luh n]


the making of slight cracking sounds rapidly repeated.
the crisp browned skin or rind of roast pork.
Usually cracklings. Southern U.S. the crisp residue left when fat, especially hog or chicken fat, is rendered.

Origin of crackling

First recorded in 1540–50; crackle + -ing1


[krak-uh l]

verb (used without object), crack·led, crack·ling.

to make slight, sudden, sharp noises, rapidly repeated.
to form a network of fine cracks on the surface.
(of ceramic glaze) to craze.
to exhibit liveliness, vibrancy, anticipation, etc.: The play crackled with wit.

verb (used with object), crack·led, crack·ling.

to cause to crackle.
to break with a crackling noise.
to craze (ceramic glaze).


the act of crackling.
a crackling noise.
a network of fine cracks, as in the glaze of some kinds of porcelain.

Origin of crackle

First recorded in 1490–1500; crack + -le Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for crackling

sparkle, sound, break, snap, crinkle, crepitate, decrepitate

Examples from the Web for crackling

Contemporary Examples of crackling

Historical Examples of crackling

  • And over all was a constant hum, a crackling, a whining of spinning parts.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

  • His voice was almost a scream, shrill and crackling with excitement.

    Two Thousand Miles Below

    Charles Willard Diffin

  • The linen was crackling between his fingers, and splinters of ice were breaking off.

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

  • "'As the crackling of thorns under a pot,'" he quoted soberly.

    Old Man Curry

    Charles E. (Charles Emmett) Van Loan

  • The badger kept on, until he heard the crackling of the burning twigs.

British Dictionary definitions for crackling



the crisp browned skin of roast pork



to make or cause to make a series of slight sharp noises, as of paper being crushed or of a wood fire burning
(tr) to decorate (porcelain or pottery) by causing a fine network of cracks to appear in the glaze
(intr) to abound in vivacity or energy


the act or sound of crackling
intentional crazing in the glaze of a piece of porcelain or pottery
Also called: crackleware porcelain or pottery so decorated
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

Word Origin and History for crackling



mid-15c., crackelen, frequentative of cracken "to crack" (see crack (v.)). Related: Crackled; crackling. The noun is recorded from 1833.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper