Nearby words

  1. crabs,
  2. crabstick,
  3. crabwise,
  4. crabwood,
  5. crac,
  6. crack a book,
  7. crack a bottle,
  8. crack a joke,
  9. crack a smile,
  10. crack down


Origin of crack

before 1000; Middle English crak(k)en (v.), crak (noun), Old English cracian to resound; akin to German krachen, Dutch kraken (v.), and German Krach, Dutch krak (noun)

Related formscrack·a·ble, adjectivecrack·less, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for slip between the cracks



to break or cause to break without complete separation of the partsthe vase was cracked but unbroken
to break or cause to break with a sudden sharp sound; snapto crack a nut
to make or cause to make a sudden sharp soundto crack a whip
to cause (the voice) to change tone or become harsh or (of the voice) to change tone, esp to a higher register; break
informal to fail or cause to fail
to yield or cause to yieldto crack under torture
(tr) to hit with a forceful or resounding blow
(tr) to break into or force opento crack a safe
(tr) to solve or decipher (a code, problem, etc)
(tr) informal to tell (a joke, etc)
to break (a molecule) into smaller molecules or radicals by the action of heat, as in the distillation of petroleum
(tr) to open (esp a bottle) for drinkinglet's crack another bottle
(intr) Scot and Northern English dialect to chat; gossip
(tr) informal to achieve (esp in the phrase crack it)
(tr) Australian informal to find or catchto crack a wave in surfing
crack a smile informal to break into a smile
crack hardy or crack hearty Australian and NZ informal to disguise one's discomfort, etc; put on a bold front
crack the whip informal to assert one's authority, esp to put people under pressure to work harder


a sudden sharp noise
a break or fracture without complete separation of the two partsa crack in the window
a narrow opening or fissure
informal a resounding blow
a physical or mental defect; flaw
a moment or specific instantthe crack of day
a broken or cracked tone of voice, as a boy's during puberty
(often foll by at) informal an attempt; opportunity to tryhe had a crack at the problem
slang a gibe; wisecrack; joke
slang a person that excels
Scot and Northern English dialect a talk; chat
slang a processed form of cocaine hydrochloride used as a stimulant. It is highly addictive
Also: craic informal, mainly Irish fun; informal entertainmentthe crack was great in here last night
obsolete, slang a burglar or burglary
crack of dawn
  1. the very instant that the sun rises
  2. very early in the morning
a fair crack of the whip informal a fair chance or opportunity
crack of doom doomsday; the end of the world; the Day of Judgment


(prenominal) slang first-class; excellenta crack shot

Word Origin for crack

Old English cracian; related to Old High German krahhōn, Dutch kraken, Sanskrit gárjati he roars

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 slip between the cracks
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with slip between the cracks


In addition to the idioms beginning with crack

  • crack a book
  • crack a bottle
  • crack a joke
  • crack a smile
  • crack down
  • cracked up
  • crack of dawn
  • crack the whip
  • crack up

also see:

  • by jove (cracky)
  • fall between the cracks
  • get cracking
  • hard nut to crack
  • have a crack at
  • make a crack
  • not all it's cracked up to be
  • paper over (the cracks)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.