an instrument or device for cracking the shells of nuts.
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. 2019

Examples from the Web for nutcracker

Contemporary Examples of nutcracker

Historical Examples of nutcracker

  • Type locality of Lewis's woodpecker and Clarke's nutcracker.

  • It feeds on very hard fruits, as the Nutcracker and the Pyrrhocorax.

    At Last

    Charles Kingsley

  • The same person confessed to me, that he had once actually laid aside his head for a nutcracker.

  • Why can you crack a hard nut with a nutcracker when you cannot crack it by squeezing it between two pieces of iron?

    Common Science

    Carleton W. Washburne

  • She had a stick and a nutcracker face and a pair of large iron bowed spectacles.


    Frances Hodgson Burnett

British Dictionary definitions for nutcracker



(often plural) a device for cracking the shells of nuts
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