1. an instrument or device for cracking the shells of nuts.
  2. any of several corvine birds of the genus Nucifraga that feed on nuts, as the common nutcracker, N. caryocatactes, of Europe and Clark's nutcracker, N. columbiana, of the western U.S.

Origin of nutcracker

First recorded in 1540–50; nut + cracker Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nut-cracker

Historical Examples of nut-cracker

British Dictionary definitions for nut-cracker


  1. (often plural) a device for cracking the shells of nuts
  2. either of two birds, Nucifraga caryocatactes of the Old World or N. columbianus (Clark's nutcracker) of North America, having speckled plumage and feeding on nuts, seeds, etc: family Corvidae (crows)
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 nut-cracker

also nutcracker, 1540s, from nut (n.) + agent noun from crack (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper