crack


crack
I. verb Etymology: Middle English crakken, from Old English cracian; akin to Old High German chrahhōn to resound Date: before 12th century intransitive verb 1. to make a very sharp explosive sound <
the whip cracks through the air
>
2. to break, split, or snap apart 3. fail: as a. to lose control or effectiveness under pressure — often used with up b. to fail in tone <
his voice cracked
>
4. to go or travel at good speed — usually used with on <
the steamboat cracked on
>
transitive verb 1. a. to break so that fissures appear on the surface <
crack a mirror
>
b. to break with a sudden sharp sound <
crack nuts
>
2. to tell especially suddenly or strikingly <
crack a joke
>
3. to strike with a sharp noise ; rap <
then cracks him over the head
>
<
cracked a two-run homer in the fifth — New York Times
>
4. a. (1) to open (as a bottle) for drinking (2) to open (a book) for studying b. to puzzle out and expose, solve, or reveal the mystery of <
crack a code
>
c. to break into <
crack a safe
>
d. to open slightly <
crack the throttle
>
e. to break through (as a barrier) so as to gain acceptance or recognition f. to show or begin showing (a smile) especially reluctantly or uncharacteristically 5. a. to impair seriously or irreparably ; wreck <
crack an opponent's courage
>
b. to destroy the tone of (a voice) c. disorder, craze d. to interrupt sharply or abruptly <
the criticism cracked our complacency
>
6. to cause to make a sharp noise <
cracks his knuckles
>
7. a. (1) to subject (hydrocarbons) to cracking (2) to produce by cracking <
cracked gasoline
>
b. to break up (chemical compounds) into simpler compounds by means of heat II. noun Date: 14th century 1. a. a loud roll or peal <
a crack of thunder
>
b. a sudden sharp noise <
the crack of rifle fire
>
2. a sharp witty remark ; quip 3. a. a narrow break ; fissure <
a crack in the ice
>
b. a narrow opening <
leave the door open a crack
>
<
cracks between floorboards
>
— used figuratively in phrases like fall through the cracks to describe one that has been improperly or inadvertently ignored or left out <
a player who fell through the cracks in the college draft
>
<
children slipping through the cracks of available youth services
>
4. a. a weakness or flaw caused by decay, age, or deficiency ; unsoundness b. a broken tone of the voice c. crackpot 5. moment, instant <
the crack of dawn
>
6. housebreaking, burglary 7. a sharp resounding blow <
gave him a crack on the head
>
8. an attempt or opportunity to do something <
her first crack at writing a novel
>
<
got first crack at the job opening
>
9. a potent form of cocaine that is obtained by treating the hydrochloride of cocaine with sodium bicarbonate to create small chips used illicitly for smoking — called also crack cocaine III. adjective Date: 1793 of superior excellence or ability <
a crack marksman
>

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Synonyms: