out of whack, Informal. out of order or alignment; not in proper condition.

Origin of whack

1710–20; orig. dial., Scots form of thwack; cf. whang2, whittle
Related formswhack·er, noun

Synonyms for whack

5. try, go, turn. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for whack

wallop, ding, clout, nail, rap, belt, sock, lambaste, crack, strike, wham, biff, beat, thump, buffet, bang, slap, slug, bash, box

Examples from the Web for whack

Contemporary Examples of whack

Historical Examples of whack

  • This gentleman said he never told a fellow what ailed him until he got his whack.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • There was a whack as one lump hit the boat, and a grunt as the other struck some man.

  • Virginie had caught her a whack with all her might on her bare arm, just above the elbow.


    Emile Zola

  • But on most of the occasions she only caught some whack for her trouble.


    Emile Zola

  • "We won't get much of a whack at the Jerries," the colonel said rather testily.

British Dictionary definitions for whack


verb (tr)

to strike with a sharp resounding blow
(usually passive) British informal to exhaust completely
(tr; usu foll by in or on) informal to put something on to or into something else with force or abandonwhack on some sunscreen


(tr) US slang to murderif you were out of line you got whacked
a sharp resounding blow or the noise made by such a blow
informal a share or portion
informal a try or attempt (esp in the phrase have a whack at)
out of whack informal out of order; unbalancedthe whole system is out of whack


an exclamation imitating the noise of a sharp resounding blow
Derived Formswhacker, noun

Word Origin for whack

C18: perhaps a variant of thwack, ultimately of imitative origin
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 whack

"to strike sharply," 1719, probably of imitative origin. The noun is from 1737. The word in out of whack (1885) is perhaps the slang meaning "share, just portion" (1785), which may be from the notion of the blow that divides, or the rap of the auctioneer's hammer.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with whack


In addition to the idioms beginning with whack

  • whacked out
  • whack off

also see:

  • have a crack (whack) at
  • out of kilter (whack)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.