[ krak-uhp ]
/ ˈkrækˌʌp /
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See synonyms for: crackup / crackups on Thesaurus.com


a crash; collision.
a breakdown in health, especially a mental breakdown.
collapse or disintegration: the crackup of an alliance.



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Origin of crackup

First recorded in 1850–55; noun use of verb phrase crack up
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for crackup

  • His most recent book, The Death of Conservatism, is required reading for any serious student of the current conservative crackup.

    Quit Redefining Conservatism|Christopher Buckley|February 19, 2010|DAILY BEAST
  • Now Frank tried to delay Lester's inevitable complete crackup by encouraging his interest in their situation.

    The Planet Strappers|Raymond Zinke Gallun
  • Do you think they could have anything to do with Bradshaw's sudden crackup?

British Dictionary definitions for crackup

crack up

verb (adverb)

(intr) to break into pieces
(intr) informal to undergo a physical or mental breakdown
(tr) informal to present or report, esp in glowing termsit's not all it's cracked up to be
informal, mainly US and Canadian to laugh or cause to laugh uproariously or uncontrollably

noun crackup

informal a physical or mental breakdown
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 crackup

crack up


Suffer an emotional breakdown, become insane, as in He might crack up under the strain. This usage alludes to the result of cracking one's skull; from the early 1600s to crack alone was used in this way. [Slang; early 1900s]


Damage or wreck a vehicle or vessel. For example, I'm always afraid that I'll crack up the car.


Experience a crash, as in We cracked up on the freeway in the middle of the ice storm.


Also, crack someone up. Burst or cause to burst out laughing, as in The audience cracked up, or That joke really cracked me up. [Slang; c. 1940] Also see break up, def. 6. All of these expressions derive from crack in the sense of “break into pieces” or “collapse,” a usage dating from the late 1600s. Also see cracked up.

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