• synonyms


  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.
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Origin of nutcracker

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

Examples from the Web for nut-cracker

Historical Examples of nut-cracker

  • "Yes," he replied, shortly; and shut his jaws together with a snap like a nut-cracker.

    The Last Woman

    Ross Beeckman

  • He had examined and priced everything, from a nut-cracker to a trip abroad.

    The Bread Line

    Albert Bigelow Paine

  • That would only do for a nut-cracker, said Murmur Goose-Egg.

  • The thick shells require careful management of the hammer or nut-cracker, to avoid breaking the meats.

    Trees Worth Knowing

    Julia Ellen Rogers

  • But she might shake her head and nod with her nut-cracker chin till the black beads on her lace "kep" tinkled.

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)
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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.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper