Definition of crack in English:



  • 1A line on the surface of something along which it has split without breaking into separate parts.

    ‘a hairline crack down the middle of the glass’
    • ‘And it takes experience to be able to differentiate natural cracks from engraved lines.’
    • ‘I ran my finger along the cracks in the wall as I walked.’
    • ‘He walked around the barracks until he found a small crack in the wall.’
    • ‘I can feel the cracks in the pavement through the soles of my shoes.’
    • ‘There was plenty of light, no dust, no cracks in the ceiling, nothing.’
    • ‘I looked down at the grey footpath, stepping over the cracks in the pavement.’
    • ‘Calmer now, Jack stepped over to the window and drew a line along the crack with his bare finger.’
    • ‘An apartment on the sixth floor has serious vertical cracks in its walls.’
    • ‘When I picked the element off the floor I could see it had developed a hairline crack at the base.’
    • ‘He walked, with his head down staring at the cracks in the sidewalk.’
    • ‘Small hairline cracks can be repaired by simply spreading compound over them and sanding them smooth.’
    • ‘A hairline crack appeared in the floor, heading towards the darkness.’
    • ‘She was satisfied to see a tiny crack begin in the corner.’
    • ‘Its engineers have now confirmed that there are 1850 rails with hairline cracks.’
    • ‘It's surface was not impressive; cracks ran along the wall and the paint was slowly being peeled off by the weather.’
    • ‘He held his right hand up, looking into the cracks and creases that lined it.’
    • ‘She almost rejoiced when she saw a crack begin to appear in the surface of the glass.’
    • ‘Now I could see the cracks in the sidewalk clearly.’
    • ‘The single fracture was visible as a fine crack spiralling from one facet edge all the way to the centre of the stone.’
    • ‘I noticed a small crack in the glass door.’
    split, fissure, crevice, break, fracture, rupture, breach, rift, cleft, slit, chink, gap, cranny, interstice
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    1. 1.1A narrow space between two surfaces, especially ones that have broken or been moved apart.
      ‘he climbed into a crack between two rocks’
      ‘the door opened a tiny crack’
      • ‘As soon as the slightest crack was opened, the being started to move toward it.’
      • ‘Evidently the shower head is leaking and has caused a crack in our ceiling.’
      • ‘Most rocks and soils are traversed by cracks along which water can flow much more easily.’
      • ‘It seemed safer to escape through one of the many cracks running along the base of the wall.’
      • ‘As we follow the crack along we find more lobsters every few metres, lurking in their terraced cottages.’
      • ‘An easy scramble led to the base of a 20 ft wall that was split by a wide crack.’
      • ‘Only a small source of light came in through the cracks in the ceiling.’
      • ‘While I was checking that out, I noticed that there was a crack in the gas line, and it was leaking.’
      • ‘He described the source of the leak variously as a split or splice or crack along the length of the tube.’
      • ‘The terrain is easy to move over, hard mud with deep narrow cracks, easy to cross, but wide enough to hide in.’
      • ‘The hairline crack split wider as a burst of green energy shot forth through it.’
      • ‘The guards opened the slightest crack in the door enough for her to slip through and beckon her closer.’
      • ‘Large cracks ran up along the old wood, clearly showing its age.’
      • ‘The High Judge pushed open a crack in the door, beckoning the prince to exit.’
      • ‘A jagged crack shot through the ice and water gushed up in jets and spurts.’
      • ‘He could see all the cracks and lines in them, made clear by the hot and dry sun.’
      • ‘I rolled over, seeing sunlight filtering through cracks in the walls.’
      • ‘The most common repairs are filling cracks and repairing surface damage.’
      • ‘There was not a mark of green anywhere not even between the cracks and lines.’
      • ‘The mould may not yet be broken, but the crack is dramatically widening.’
      • ‘Glancing at the crack along the edges of his door, the light outside was brightening.’
      split, fissure, crevice, break, fracture, rupture, breach, rift, cleft, slit, chink, gap, cranny, interstice
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2A vulnerable point; a flaw.
      ‘the company spotted a crack in their rival's defenses’
      • ‘Contempt poured from cracks in his professional facade.’
      • ‘Cracks start appearing in Victor's near-perfect facade, cracks that are directly linked to his ambitions.’
      • ‘But, when you look carefully at each tiny detail, the cracks within your soul most certainly show.’
      • ‘They fear a major crack in the system and the consequences it will bring - not only for themselves - but the entire estate.’
      • ‘Slight cracks began to show and Keswick grabbed a goal, scoring from close to the back post.’
      • ‘By day four the cracks were beginning to show and tiredness led to injuries.’
      • ‘It's a backhanded reassurance, one that allows for cracks of doubt in the organization's trust-us mentality.’
      • ‘I've had to stop trying to look for cracks and flaws to prove that it's not as good as it seems.’
      • ‘Still, the current fiscal crisis reveals the cracks in the system's foundation.’
      • ‘His escaping further punishment could cause cracks in party unity.’
      • ‘The economic weakness came on suddenly and has exposed some cracks in the financial system.’
      • ‘UNICEF estimates that five million Thai children have fallen between the cracks of the education system.’
      • ‘There are certain bands that have more or less fallen through the cracks of critical analysis.’
      • ‘The more rigid the character, the more you can notice the cracks in the foundation.’
      • ‘Both events, both images, represented cracks in a system that can no longer exist.’
      • ‘Many fell through the cracks of the system, landing in jail or on the streets.’
      • ‘He wanted to find a crack, something left vulnerable between the duo.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the PSA department was not in the right hands, and by 1967, the cracks in the system had begun to show.’
      • ‘They saw the flaws and cracks in the system. [But] we have to move on and think beyond one man.’
      • ‘It's going to find its way through the cracks in the system.’
  • 2A sudden sharp or explosive noise.

    ‘a loud crack of thunder’
    • ‘There was a crack, louder than the sound of her wrists snapping, then a thud.’
    • ‘Five minutes later, Veronica heard three loud cracks of gunfire.’
    • ‘The explosive crack of a bullwhip can frighten cattle into a pen and even keep lions and tigers at bay.’
    • ‘She was thrown through the air and hit the pavement with a sickening crack.’
    • ‘A thunder crack sounded and the rain started to come down.’
    • ‘Nothing penetrated the silence except for the occasional crack of a twig or the rustle of leaves.’
    • ‘As they lay there, another crack of a twig came from across the cave.’
    • ‘"Do you think… " another crack echoed around the room as Suze continued.’
    • ‘Soon great swathes of the countryside were closed off, and the emptiness echoed to the crack of gunfire as animals, many of them healthy, were slaughtered.’
    • ‘Nick heard the crack of his bone splintering as a searing pain shot through his face.’
    • ‘Lightning lit the summer sky, quickly followed by a deafening crack of thunder.’
    • ‘Lightning flashed again outside, followed quickly by a loud crack of thunder.’
    • ‘The sharp crack of their rifles echoes through the humid Georgia night, evoking cries of alarm and warning from the encampment ahead.’
    • ‘A sickening crack echoed through the air and I felt my stomach lurch.’
    • ‘I'll miss the sound of the crack of the bat and roar of the crowd.’
    • ‘Suddenly, he heard a loud crack of thunder.’
    • ‘A loud crack was heard above the cheering in the packed pub and 47-year-old Paul let out a yelp.’
    • ‘Something hits my right arm, and I hear the crack of a broken bone.’
    • ‘He winced when a twig snapped with a loud crack beneath his foot.’
    • ‘She landed with a loud thud and a crack came from her ankle.’
    bang, report, explosion, detonation, clap, pop, snap, crackle, knock, tap, clash, crash, smash, smack
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    1. 2.1A sharp blow, especially one that makes a noise.
      ‘she gave the thief a crack over the head with her rolling pin’
      • ‘What Montgomery conceived was a one-two punch, a British blow followed by an American crack.’
      • ‘My dad would get the report from our mother, make his way into our room, take off his belt, and deliver the requisite number of cracks.’
      blow, bang, hit, punch, knock, thump, rap, bump, thwack, smack, slap, welt, cuff, box
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    2. 2.2A sudden harshness or change in pitch in a person's voice.
      ‘the boy's voice had an uncertain crack in it’
      • ‘He adopts a half-sob crack in the voice with monotonous repetition.’
      • ‘She contended in a defiant whisper just above the crack in her voice.’
      • ‘The message had to be delivered clearly and firmly - no cracks in the voice, no wandering eyes, no apologies.’
      • ‘He was inwardly cringing at the slight crack in his voice.’
      • ‘The bottom lip started going and there was a crack in my voice.’
      • ‘Singing in English at the impossibly low volumes she favors, syllables are often lost as her voice shows fine cracks.’
      • ‘She smiled half-heartedly, although she clearly heard the crack in his voice.’
      • ‘I asked defiantly, trying to get rid of the crack in my voice.’
      • ‘‘Friends and visitors,’ the old man booms with a crack in his voice that betrays his age.’
      • ‘In the confidence she tried to show with her sentence, her voice made the faintest crack.’
      • ‘She said it, imitating a small crack in her voice, as she had heard Tyron's voice do all too often now.’
  • 3informal A joke, typically a critical or unkind one.

    • ‘They continued to lazily watch Stine, exchanging cracks and small jokes about the dog.’
    • ‘My wife says I cannot tell a joke, but I can make off-the-cuff cracks that have been known to elicit the occasional chuckle.’
    • ‘Englishmen walked tall through the streets, refusing to be drawn in by the traditional cracks and sneers.’
    • ‘Sure they toss cracks at so called ‘nerds’ but all in joking, nothing serious or near as intense as what they put me through.’
    • ‘Nick makes a crack about her driving, she makes the shot, and the alarm goes off.’
    • ‘There were all sorts of cracks and jokes about diving off wardrobes etc.’
    • ‘These gave him a chance to drop names, review an adventurous life, and get in a few cracks about the ignorant press.’
    • ‘When he explains that the crack about encouraging homemakers to become lawyers was a joke, she chides him about his tone.’
    • ‘He makes a further crack about his rival's empty posturing.’
    joke, witticism, funny remark, witty remark, jest, quip, pun, sally, pleasantry, epigram, aphorism
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  • 4informal [in singular] An attempt to gain or achieve something.

    ‘I thought I had a crack at winning’
    • ‘I'd had a crack at reading it a couple of years ago, but never really got anywhere.’
    • ‘I've had a crack at taking some more pics, some have turned out OK.’
    • ‘He will be catapulted closer to his second crack at the lucrative belt.’
    • ‘Isn't it better to have a crack at getting, like, a few, pretty-good policies in place?’
    • ‘On Saturday, I thought I'd have a crack at repairing the shifter.’
    • ‘Two points later he had a crack at a second serve from Federer and took a big swing.’
    • ‘Because some people have come forward with an interest in writing my biography, I thought it might be no harm to have a crack at it myself.’
    • ‘Having got his hands on the English title belt last year, he is chasing a crack at Scott Dann's British crown.’
    • ‘I've had a crack at science in all popular media and now work more in print than the medium I love most, radio.’
    • ‘If you've fancied having a crack at catching a real shark, then go for the blues and don't think twice about it.’
    • ‘Lastly, the youngsters had a crack at a 7m indoor climbing wall under the supervision of the ever-watchful PTIs.’
    • ‘Perhaps it's true that no story is complete until all involved have had a crack at telling it, but then again, maybe not.’
    • ‘If somebody's having a crack at the nuclear program I hope they know what they're doing.’
    • ‘Our greatest living portraitist, Lucian Freud, had a crack at it in 2001.’
    • ‘I think they quite fancy having a crack at it, even if it is only for part of the tournament.’
    • ‘Latter-day biographers and armchair psychologists all had a crack at why he liked to drink so much.’
    • ‘Stefan hopes to eventually attempt both the North and South Pole and finally have a crack at Everest.’
    • ‘Too often I am sent a problem far too late to do much but sympathise, and wish I could have had a crack at the trouble earlier.’
    • ‘He has had a crack at cinema as well, grabbing a role in a Hollywood production dubbed Jungle Boy.’
    • ‘This might have been a call to far, but I will have a crack at it.’
    attempt, try, effort, endeavour, venture
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    1. 4.1A chance to attack or compete with someone.
      ‘he wanted to have a crack at the enemy’
      • ‘He's back for another crack after our recent criticisms of his work.’
      • ‘then you may as well have a crack at a test, if only for the heck of it.’
      • ‘All that has been accomplished tonight is that one party have vented their spleen by trying to have a crack at another.’
      • ‘I tell her, in case she wants to have a crack at us on this, that our stand is well understood and is very popular.’
      • ‘So we'll be having a crack at the gits who flout all the traffic laws that the coppers haven't got time for.’
      • ‘We want to do well in the Trophy and it would be great if we could get through this round and have a crack at one of the Conference clubs.’
      • ‘Graham has even promised to throw a couple of trainer wheels on a bike for me and reckons he has a 57 year old Kiwi who would like to have a crack at me.’
      • ‘Previous old Labour governments had neither the clout nor the guts nor the majority to have a crack at their traditional hate-figure of the rural Tory.’
      • ‘‘He's dangerous,’ says Bungu, who opted to have a crack at the combative Yorkshireman.’
  • 5A hard, crystalline form of cocaine broken into small pieces and smoked.

    • ‘Cocaine and crack cocaine were used by only a small minority of women in each group.’
    • ‘It will currently include, among many other substances, cannabis, heroin, cocaine, crack, LSD and ecstasy.’
    • ‘Basically ice is to amphetamine powder what crack is to cocaine, very powerful.’
    • ‘His father drifted in and out of jail, and his mother blew welfare checks on crack.’
    • ‘This suggested that marijuana use was not a necessary precursor to use of crack, powder cocaine, or heroin.’
    • ‘The most popular drugs used by this group were cocaine and crack.’
    • ‘I have tried, time and again, but I cannot free myself from an addiction that has as firm a hold on me as heroin, cocaine or crack.’
    • ‘Those who test positive for heroin, cocaine or crack cocaine will be offered the opportunity to enter treatment.’
    • ‘He looked like a singer on crack, and pitched his unfunny jokes to an unreceptive crowd.’
    • ‘How can you say that loose cocaine doesn't matter when you can't make crack without loose cocaine?’
    • ‘Unable to break the hold crack had on her life, she wheedled every cent she could out of the people around her.’
    • ‘Many try to avoid this depression by smoking either more crack or heroin to calm down.’
    • ‘They were accused of dealing in powdered cocaine, but crack was the local drug of choice.’
    • ‘Connecticut is currently one of thirteen states with major crack and powder cocaine sentencing distinctions.’
    • ‘They'd wreak havoc with all the crack in my system.’
    • ‘Pot dealers report that there has been no discernible increase in trafficking of the harder drugs - crack, cocaine, and heroin.’
    • ‘Arrestees were more forthcoming with their heroin and marijuana use than they were with their crack or power cocaine use.’
    • ‘Both cocaine and crack are very addictive - and very, very dangerous.’
    • ‘He asked them to instead concentrate on heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine.’
    • ‘The use of cocaine and crack is also on the increase, according to the report.’


  • 1Break or cause to break without a complete separation of the parts.

    [no object] ‘the ice all over the lake had cracked’
    [with object] ‘a stone cracked the headlight glass on his car’
    • ‘The stone cracked some of the pathway, and another soon fell behind her, startling her slightly.’
    • ‘To prevent glass or plastic from cracking, do not use hot water.’
    • ‘Luckily the glass cracked and did not shatter, the door was very heavy and I was very lucky not to be hurt.’
    • ‘I heard glass cracking and looked toward Emily, she was standing up.’
    • ‘Headlights shattered and windshields cracked, the place was a disaster.’
    • ‘All that was salvaged from the ruin was a brass barometer with its front glass cracked.’
    • ‘The windows of the throne room blew open with such force that the glass cracked.’
    • ‘A twig cracked under the weight of her boot.’
    • ‘He punched the door with his right fist, cracking the orange tinted glass.’
    • ‘I put a glass of water outside just to see what would happen; not only did it freeze within minutes, but the glass cracked as well.’
    • ‘The pavement around the Market Cross is in a dangerous condition, with paving stones cracked and worn.’
    • ‘Generally, stone slabs should not crack if they are laid correctly.’
    • ‘The glass cracked right down the middle of the photo frame.’
    • ‘I thought it was broken and cracked down the middle!’
    • ‘If the stone surface cracks, you need to replace the entire countertop.’
    • ‘Mark kicked the glass and it cracked, he kicked again breaking it.’
    • ‘The town hall lost two bollards and a litter bin, railings, and a large stone pedestal has been cracked.’
    • ‘The conditions here can be so dry that even the best plastic cracks and breaks after a few years.’
    • ‘The council told him the bays would then overlap the paving stones, which would crack under the weight.’
    • ‘Tile can be difficult to save as they are mostly glass and could crack and fly off in pieces.’
    • ‘I grasped his hands in mine, so tightly they almost cracked under the pressure.’
    split, fracture, fissure, rupture, break, snap, cleave
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Break or cause to break open or apart.
      [no object] ‘you can see how the landmasses have cracked up and moved around’
      figurative ‘his face cracked into a smile’
      [with object] ‘she cracked an egg into the frying pan’
      • ‘One of the claws broke in the attempt to lift the submarine, and a large section of its hull cracked off and fell back to the ocean floor.’
      • ‘Megan cracked open an egg and spilled its contents into a frying pan.’
      • ‘I reached out to touch the one unbroken egg and as soon as my fingertip made contact it cracked open.’
      • ‘The hot pink nail polish cracks and breaks off into my mouth.’
      • ‘It was as if someone had cracked open an egg on the top of my head.’
      • ‘Later, when you've cracked apart that final crab claw, you see her notice you in the mirror over the lobster tank.’
      • ‘The plates continue to spread apart, the crust cracks again, another eruption of lava occurs, and another dike forms.’
      • ‘He laughed and I pretended to be offended, but ended up cracking a smile anyway.’
      • ‘The machine's arms lifted up, grasping it's head, rock and stone cracking and falling off in large boulders.’
      • ‘I glared at him but ended up cracking a smile.’
      • ‘The chocolate cracked like an Easter egg when the spoon went through it.’
      • ‘Its superstructure began to fissure and crack apart from the concentrated barrages.’
      • ‘Her eyes began to crack open, her consciousness returning.’
      • ‘I cracked the eggs open, and started cooking them.’
      • ‘Before his eyes, it cracked down the middle and shattered into a thousand pieces.’
      • ‘The child whose egg stays intact while cracking everyone else's eggs wins the game.’
      • ‘Gabrielle finally cracked a small sheepish smile and slid down beside him gingerly.’
      • ‘The concrete finally cracked apart and the wigwam tipped right over.’
      • ‘One last smash against the wall cracked apart the top of it, and a creature came into view.’
      • ‘I cracked apart the wings of my cookie and slid out the fortune: Look for love where you least expect it.’
    2. 1.2[with object]Break (wheat or corn) into coarse pieces.
      • ‘If you don't have access to a grinder to crack wheat for cereal, you can cook the wheat kernels.’
      • ‘There is also a kit for a processor that can crack corn and remove seeds from cotton with simple attachments.’
      • ‘They can churn butter, crack corn and feed it to the chickens, and tend the garden.’
    3. 1.3[with object]Open slightly.
      ‘gingerly, he cracks open his door’
      • ‘After Pheobe changed in her room, she cracked open her door a little.’
      • ‘I crack my eyes open slightly, only to be greeted by an almost blinding yellow light.’
      • ‘Greatly daring, Sonia cracked open the door to peer in at its occupant.’
      • ‘Then a crescendo of Chinese erupts as the twins' mother cracks open her door.’
      • ‘Stephen recovered first and cracked open the door, peering out in the hallway.’
      • ‘She was about to pull it on, when Trevor cracked open the door and called out, ‘You okay in there?’’
      • ‘He hadn't heard me as I cracked open the door and watched him gorge himself.’
      • ‘Cautiously, she slipped down the stairs and cracked open the basement door.’
      • ‘When I cracked open the door to my English room, the lecture came to an abrupt halt and all heads turned in my direction.’
      • ‘Quietly, she cracked open her door, looking in both directions to make sure the coast was clear.’
      • ‘I crouched down into the pilot seat and tried to gather enough courage to crack open the door.’
      • ‘He cracked open his door to see a guard patrolling.’
      • ‘Nick walked up to his parents room and cracked open the door.’
      • ‘She cracked the door open slightly and listened, chuckling softly.’
      • ‘Finally he screwed up his courage and crept out of bed, sneaking past his brothers and cracking open the door.’
      • ‘She grabbed the wooden bucket and its rain lid and cracked open the door.’
      • ‘He cracked open the door, only to find that it was dark, and the TV was still on.’
      • ‘I cracked open my door and peeked out making sure no one was about.’
      • ‘Quietly, Tim cracked open the door and stepped in, Robin close behind.’
      • ‘She grinned as she heard the lyrics and cracked open his door.’
    4. 1.4Give way or cause to give way under torture, pressure, or strain.
      [no object] ‘the witnesses cracked and the truth came out’
      [with object] ‘no one can crack them—they believe their story’
      • ‘His countenance almost cracks for a moment, but he manages to hold it together against tremendous odds.’
      • ‘Within a few years, this class fissure helped to crack apart American solidarity.’
      • ‘Even he cracked under the pressure of the kinds of policies that the National Party tried to introduce.’
      • ‘In the face of such a dual role, it could be quite easy to crack under the pressure.’
      • ‘We cracked under the pressure of the regular season.’
      • ‘‘Robust scoundrels’, although guilty, would not crack under torture.’
      • ‘Better yet, imagine that it could be your arm-waving or catcalls that make a contender crack and blow his game sky-high.’
      • ‘Certainly the most disturbing development as the crime insurgency continues is the appearance of the police cracking under strain.’
      • ‘Bachelet, however, did not crack under torture.’
      • ‘Clearances were being returned instantly and, under relentless pressure, their defence cracked.’
      • ‘Every now and then you hear stories of girls who crack under the pressure.’
      • ‘Decentralised modes of industrial relations are cracking under the strain of deregulation and globalisation.’
      • ‘Many believe that the Executive have, nonetheless, created an almighty sledgehammer to crack a few bad eggs.’
      • ‘At the beginning of the summer Towey's system cracked under the strain.’
      • ‘Some had cracked under the pressure and walked out in the middle of rehearsals.’
      • ‘Then, with two hours work under my belt, my resolve cracked.’
      • ‘Perhaps most of us would crack under such pressure.’
      • ‘Finally, and despite my best intentions, my will cracks.’
      • ‘A decorated Gulf War veteran, he was moulded into a killing machine, but cracked under the pressure of war.’
      • ‘After his early promise first shown at the Monte Carlo Masters, he cracked under pressure.’
      break down, give way, cave in, crumble, collapse, go to pieces, lose control, yield, succumb, founder
      View synonyms
  • 2Make or cause to make a sudden sharp or explosive sound.

    [no object] ‘a shot cracked across the ridge’
    [with object] ‘he cracked his whip and galloped away’
    • ‘Another shot cracked through the silence, and over in the trees the birds scattered.’
    • ‘I wanted to slap them both so hard that my knuckle cracked as I tighten my hands in fists.’
    • ‘Sabriel swiftly stepped forward and socked Darius soundly across the face, punching him so hard that her knuckles cracked.’
    • ‘Each sound is rendered in precise detail - bullets crack as they pass your head and thud wetly as they enter your body.’
    • ‘The lash cracked in the air, the sharp sound waking all the slaves from their torpor.’
    • ‘She stretches, her stiff joints snapping and cracking loudly, sounding just like a firecracker when lit.’
    • ‘She put down her ridiculous hammer and cracked her knuckles.’
    • ‘I was ripped from my thoughts at the sound of pebbles cracking and moving on the road… a carriage.’
    • ‘The shot rang out, cracking loudly and landing in an unknown spot.’
    • ‘Suddenly, the sound of two bullets cracked through the air.’
    • ‘She cracked her whip, and it hit the carrot out of its hand.’
    • ‘She whispered something into his ear and he cracked the whip even harder so it seemed to rattle around Taira's head.’
    • ‘He heard the ice cracking, the sound traveling up through the soles of his feet.’
    • ‘She scrambled up the ladder and shots cracked from guns and ricocheted off metal and pocked brick wall.’
    • ‘He yawned, stretching, and there was a popping sound as his spine cracked into place.’
    • ‘When the gun shot cracked through the air, I snapped into actions right away.’
    • ‘Yashi laced his fingers together, pulling hard until his knuckles cracked.’
    • ‘The sound cracked in the air every few seconds.’
    • ‘Then Stern took the reins and cracked the whip even harder.’
    • ‘There was some short guy standing on the right end of the line, cracking his knuckles trying hard to look intimidating.’
    go bang, bang, pop, snap, crackle, crash, thud, thump, boom, ring out, clap
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    1. 2.1[no object]Knock against something, making a noise on impact.
      ‘she winced as her knees cracked against metal’
      • ‘He may have been able to catch himself before he fell and cracked the back of his head on the hard concrete.’
      • ‘His toe cracked against something hard and out of place.’
      • ‘Maondrid cracked his head against the ground again, hard.’
      • ‘Song's head cracked hard on the floor next to the welcome mat.’
      • ‘The soft grass cushioned them, but Dusty managed to roll further than the others and crack his head against hard packed dirt.’
      • ‘She found herself falling hard, the floor cracking against her ribs and back.’
      • ‘Had he not been quick to get his hand under her neck she would have cracked her skull on the hard ground.’
      • ‘She twisted around and threw Fayer down into the ground so hard his head cracked against the pavement.’
      • ‘His head cracked against the paving stone, and his vision exploded before his eyes.’
      • ‘She fell back onto the sidewalk, cracking her head on the hard concrete.’
      • ‘Her legs gave way and she fell, knocking the wind out of her lungs and cracking her head against the hard, tiled floor.’
      • ‘I crack my chin on the hard tiles and bite my tongue; the metallic taste of blood is in my mouth, the pain sharp and stinging.’
      • ‘Then something hard and cold cracked against his head causing such an explosion of light and pain behind his eyes that it nearly took him under.’
      • ‘I jumped a bit at the sound of her hand cracking across his cold cheek.’
      • ‘She severely cracked her knee, and also gashed her jaw.’
      bump, bang, hit, strike
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2[with object]Hit (someone or something) hard, making a sharp noise.
      ‘she cracked him across the forehead’
      • ‘Rory Hurley cracked home a vicious shot to give Pat's the lead.’
      • ‘I realised he wasn't breathing, so I turned him over face down across my arm and cracked him really hard on his back a couple of times.’
      • ‘And that's when I cracked him again, a sucker punch that knocked the wind out of him.’
      • ‘They want to see the police ‘go in hard and crack some heads on the terraces’.’
      • ‘While I bent down the door swung to and cracked me hard on the forehead.’
      • ‘Willie Wilson then cracked in a shot, which Reid did brilliantly to tip over the bar to deny the Fifers.’
      hit, strike, beat, thump, hammer, knock, rap, pound, thud, punch, bump, thwack, smack, slap, slam, welt, cuff, pummel, buffet, box someone's ears
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    3. 2.3[no object](of a person's voice, especially that of an adolescent boy or a person under strain) suddenly change in pitch.
      ‘“I want to get away,” she said, her voice cracking’
      • ‘I heard his voice crack as he rocked me in his arms.’
      • ‘I felt my voice crack with the formation of a tingling knot in my throat and I immediately fell silent.’
      • ‘It took every effort she had not to let her voice crack.’
      • ‘I degraded myself for letting him catch me like that and than letting my voice crack.’
      • ‘The microphones in the box were full of static, making Cameron's voice crack and differ in volume.’
      • ‘The riffs flew effortlessly off his fingers, and he sang harmony without having his voice crack.’
      • ‘I yelled, my voice cracking and squeaking through my panic.’
      • ‘‘I need you to walk over to my house, get my car and come get me,’ I could hear my voice crack.’
      • ‘I felt my voice crack, but I continued, trying to go on without wavering, which was extremely hard.’
      • ‘I could swear I heard his voice crack at ‘killing’, but I refrained from going to comfort him.’
      • ‘‘Um yeah I'll be out in a minute,’ Cassie quickly answered hearing her voice crack.’
      • ‘Allie whispered in instinctive response, fright clogging her throat, making her voice crack.’
      • ‘Hannah yelled into the phone, anger making her voice crack.’
      • ‘Then, I heard her suddenly shut up and her voice crack.’
      • ‘Manny was surprised to hear his voice crack and feel tears at his eyes.’
      • ‘I took the information from him, nervously listening to his voice crack, and called an editor.’
      • ‘Bryson looked down and when he finally spoke, I could have sworn that I heard his voice crack.’
      • ‘She was annoyed with herself, when she heard her voice crack miserably at the end.’
      • ‘The story takes Pat Williams back almost 23 years, and even now, his voice cracks and quivers over the telephone as he tells it.’
      • ‘But then why are there tears in my eyes and why did my voice crack?’
  • 3informal [with object] Find a solution to; decipher or interpret.

    ‘a hacker cracked the codes used in Internet software’
    • ‘It proves to be a hard case to crack, both experimentally and theoretically.’
    • ‘We've now discovered another challenge that may be harder to crack.’
    • ‘Now, the eyes of the world are back on Durban for a conclave on another hard nut to crack: racism.’
    • ‘In general, the longer the password and the more complicated it is, the more difficult it is for an unauthorized person to crack it.’
    • ‘A 2048 bit key would be exponentially harder to crack.’
    • ‘The lyrical logic is hard to crack, but the record proves maddeningly infectious.’
    • ‘When they talk of ‘tradition’ the code is not hard to crack.’
    • ‘This may make it a little harder to enter your password but it makes it a lot harder for anyone else to crack it.’
    • ‘These views were just as hard to crack as the idea that there is no alternative to capitalism.’
    • ‘Logan had been a hard case to crack but it had been well worth it.’
    • ‘You'll be pleased to know that the only criteria for entry is a basic level of literacy - no codes to crack, no hard questions.’
    • ‘Otherwise, you're making it much easier for someone to crack your code.’
    • ‘Well, up until this point, you would think, listening to everything that we've heard so far, that it is going to be tough to crack this person.’
    • ‘The crew might find cracking old cases harder than counting snowflakes in a blizzard.’
    • ‘Certainly Chechnya is a devilish hard case to crack.’
    • ‘The team will be hard pushed to crack this scam as the practice appears to have been arbitrary.’
    • ‘Shouldn't a code have at least 4 or 5 different figures to make it really hard to crack?’
    • ‘The forces had succeeded in breaking all their other codes, and it was hoped that this would prove much harder to crack.’
    • ‘Several complications that make work hard for the scientist/detectives trying to crack this case.’
    • ‘Most new garage door openers have built-in security codes that are hard for crooks to crack electronically.’
    • ‘This might be a hard fact to crack, but you're growing up - and fast!’
    solve, find an answer to, find the answer to, find a solution to, find the solution to, resolve, work out, puzzle out, fathom, find the key to, decipher, decode, break, clear up, interpret, translate, straighten out, get to the bottom of, make head or tail of, unravel, disentangle, untangle, unfold, piece together, elucidate
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1Break into (a safe)
      • ‘And, if he had to worry about beating the box, would he be able to crack the safe without zoning out?’
      • ‘The robbers cracked the first safe's combination, and inside they found only a bowl of vanilla pudding.’
      • ‘If winning a league demands a knack for cracking safe combinations then winning a cup is all about picking pockets.’
      • ‘Safes are just as hard to crack in a bank as they are in a house; network security products are highly dependent on their environment.’
      • ‘On these trips Fred learned many skills such as picking locks and cracking safes.’
      • ‘It takes him but two hours to crack the safe and remove its ill-gotten contents.’
      • ‘She cracks safes as well as her father.’
      • ‘They are hired to crack a safe, photograph the contents of a locked briefcase inside, and return it to the owner without him knowing.’
      • ‘He'll make you a safe nobody can crack.’
      • ‘As she finished cracking the safe, she glanced around the office, still fighting back the feeling of unease.’
      • ‘It is extremely unlikely that he would crack a safe without leaving fingerprints.’
      • ‘Danny strolls around town, going places he shouldn't by lock-picking doors and cracking safes.’
      • ‘A tourist attraction will invite visitors to race a motorised gondola, crack a safe and save the world by defusing a bomb.’
      • ‘Police didn't get wind of the robbery until nearly midnight, six hours after the safe was cracked and cleared.’
      • ‘Will blinked the sweat out of his eyes as he worked furiously on cracking the safe.’
      force open, break open, prise open, open without a key, break into
      View synonyms
  • 4[with object] Tell (a joke)

    ‘he cracked jokes which she didn't find very funny’
    • ‘We all crack jokes, we all take care of each other, we're all loving.’
    • ‘She sings, hosts a talk show and often cracks jokes for her audience.’
    • ‘Hang on, weren't we cracking the same joke last year?’
    • ‘Phil has a joking personality, and always cracks jokes.’
    • ‘He only smiled occasionally and that's only when Darren cracked a really funny joke.’
    • ‘Befriend them, be nice to them, tell them their hair looks nice, crack the odd risqué joke, flirt with them a little.’
    • ‘Sometimes he even cracks jokes and indulges in informal attitudes.’
    • ‘I'm just about to crack a rather forced joke to her when something over her shoulder catches my eye.’
    • ‘For example, he often cracks jokes to relieve unresolved anger, he says.’
    • ‘And even the photographer was so pleased; he even cracked a few lame jokes.’
    • ‘They didn't even crack their usual jokes as the beginning of practice.’
    • ‘Vaughn cracks many jokes, but the bulk of the commentary is devoted to stories and behind-the-scenes tales of the film.’
    • ‘He comes in, looks around, mumbles about my wires and cracks some really bad jokes.’
    • ‘And there was nothing else he could do, he cracks, lest he sound too spiritual.’
    • ‘The guy doesn't even crack many jokes: these things speak for themselves.’
    • ‘He cracked a few jokes as he became comfortable with the podium.’
    • ‘She couldn't be sarcastic and crack jokes when it's not appropriate, that's just not who she is.’
    • ‘Stefan is volatile and often cracks bad puns, and also has a hatred of fashion.’
    • ‘In this theatre-dance piece, Langfelder dances, cracks jokes and zips around.’
    • ‘He never smiles during games and what's even more surprising is that he never cracks jokes during post-match interviews.’
  • 5[with object] Decompose (hydrocarbons) by heat and pressure with or without a catalyst to produce lighter hydrocarbons, especially in oil refining.

    ‘catalytic cracking’
    • ‘One of the important reactions in oil refinement is hydrocarbon cracking.’
    • ‘During the 1930s, catalysts were introduced to promote chemical reactions during cracking.’
    • ‘Methanol and ethanol are most commonly derived from cracking petroleum into smaller hydrocarbons.’
    • ‘Amorphous alumina-silica composites are used to crack or split hydrocarbon chains in petroleum refining.’
    • ‘Palladium catalysts are used in refining and cracking petroleum.’


  • [attributive] Very good, especially at a specified activity or in a specified role.

    ‘he is a crack shot’
    ‘crack troops’
    • ‘He was a crack shot with a rifle and a superb horseman.’
    • ‘Thesiger was famous in Darfur chiefly as a crack shot.’
    • ‘They are a crack unit of professionals, arguably the world's best.’
    • ‘Their crack troops would not have been so easily panicked or outwitted.’
    • ‘Not only are you a crack shot with a handgun, but you are also adept at the crucial placement of bear traps.’
    • ‘He liked golf but was never much of a golfer, liked shooting but wasn't a crack shot.’
    • ‘Every single one is a crack shot and has to maintain an accuracy rate of at least 85 percent.’
    • ‘Mounted on horseback, a small team of crack troops are aware that locals know they are coming well in advance.’
    • ‘In one battle the unit he belonged to was to fight against crack enemy troops.’
    • ‘Conscripted into the Army, Harry was a crack shot in training and was sent to join a Lewis gun team.’
    • ‘JBC claims to have a crack team of thorough professionals providing news from around the globe.’
    • ‘She's simply inserted into the plot as a romantic device who just happens to be a crack shot at two hundred-fifty paces.’
    • ‘He took a ride to Chicago and back just to see how that crack train ran at its new high speed.’
    • ‘A superb siege by sea was planned and he was given six thousand of the best Syrian crack troops to accomplish the feat.’
    • ‘Could the Guardian's crack team of theatre experts give the show an instant makeover and turn its fortunes around?’
    • ‘Young criminals in West Yorkshire are to be taken to task by a crack team of professionals in a Government-funded initiative.’
    • ‘We are no longer the crack troops, fighting for a better and sexier tomorrow.’
    • ‘But the Marines are different; they are crack troops, as trained physically as we are intellectually.’
    • ‘Although specializing in hand-to-hand combat, 002 was a crack shot from distance.’
    • ‘A crack novice last season is the one they all have to beat.’


  • crack a book

    • informal Open a book and read it; study.

      • ‘Well, this looks fine for an assignment you obviously didn't bother to crack a book for.’
      • ‘Try cracking a book occasionally or move to a country where they make special accommodation for ignorant protesters such as yourself.’
      • ‘I highly recommend reading the manual, but it's easy enough to get started without cracking a book.’
      • ‘If you plan on studying only one topic, getting into IT, and then never cracking a book again, you're entering the wrong field.’
      • ‘It creates an immersive world that might actually lead some audience members to crack a book.’
      • ‘Why do it when you can get by just as well without cracking a book?’
      • ‘You mean you haven't cracked a book since you got home?’
      • ‘Relax in a hammock, crack a book under a tree, drink iced tea on the front porch.’
      • ‘There are cheat codes to the universe, as anyone who's cracked a book on differential calculus can tell you.’
      • ‘Most physics professors have never cracked a book on learning theory and don't understand different learning styles.’
  • crack of dawn

    • A time very early in the morning; daybreak.

      • ‘Typically, he'd be up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning, and fly to Budapest or Barcelona or Berlin.’
      • ‘Mercy was up at the crack of dawn like an early bird to get breakfast.’
      • ‘Thibault is considered the family alarm clock since he's up at the crack of dawn every blessed morning.’
      • ‘We started our journey, at the crack of dawn, as the early morning sun shone behind the morning mist.’
      • ‘In fact, I was at a sunrise service at the crack of dawn earlier today, service for Easter Sunday.’
      • ‘Perhaps they've been up at the crack of dawn or earlier, so they are tired.’
      • ‘Contrary to my expectations, the drivers don't have to be on the road at the crack of dawn every morning.’
      • ‘That I have had to get up at the crack of dawn the past two mornings has not helped my mood.’
      • ‘We pushed it off the roundabout and back onto the A1 and reached home at the crack of dawn on Monday morning.’
      • ‘I would wake up early in the morning at the crack of dawn, go to Shivaji Park and watch the children play for hours.’
      dawn, daybreak, break of day, crack of dawn, sunrise, first light, first thing in the morning, early morning, cockcrow
      View synonyms
  • crack of doom

    • A thunder peal announcing the Day of Judgment.

      • ‘Hammond remarked that ‘He comes off the pitch like the crack of doom.’’
      • ‘Here are 20 career achievements that should endure until the crack of doom.’
      • ‘His comments regarding America ‘till the crack of doom,’ told the world exactly where they stood.’
      • ‘It might be the crack of doom, depending on what kind of day I had in school.’
      • ‘Thus was Hollywood given the maniacal sense of its own importance that will continue to inflate until the crack of doom.’
  • be cracked up to be

    • informal [with negative]Asserted to be (used to indicate that someone or something has been described too favorably)

      ‘life on tour is not as glamorous as it's cracked up to be’
      • ‘I mean, granted the new stable BootCamp is all it's going to be cracked up to be.’
      • ‘As far as U.K. saviours go, the band aren't what they'll surely be cracked up to be.’
      • ‘Sometimes you think about people in high position and you hope that are everything that they are supposed to be cracked up to be.’
      • ‘The venture capital market in the States is not all that it may be cracked up to be.’
      • ‘I decide that being the boss is not all that it is suppose to be cracked up to be.’
      • ‘When I first bought the game I was apathetic about whether it would be everything it could be cracked up to be.’
      • ‘Plea bargains are just not what they used to be cracked up to be.’
      • ‘Not all of the offerings are all they may be cracked up to be.’
      • ‘Religious services and ceremonies never strike Miss Manners as being as funny as they may be cracked up to be.’
      • ‘Life as a Telephone Sales Representative, surprisingly, is not all it may be cracked up to be.’
  • crack wise

    • informal Make jokes; wisecrack.

      • ‘The perfect Buffy, she manages to be the strong hero always cracking wise but never forgetting that she is a 16-year-old girl.’
      • ‘You were always one to crack wise, my friend.’
      • ‘Roz is truly one of those rare people who can crack wise and get away with it.’
      • ‘She was funny, without mugging or cracking wise.’
      • ‘You might call McNealy's approach ‘marketing by cracking wise.’’
      • ‘The international news is so unrelentingly grim I don't feel like cracking wise about the situation.’
      • ‘These are hard drinking, fun having guys and they crack wise and obnoxious throughout - just like any athlete.’
      • ‘‘You know people can't hear you when you nod on the phone,’ Eric said, cracking wise.’
      • ‘But the freedom to live involved more than cracking wise.’
      • ‘He cracks wise but can't hide the grimace each taste brings.’
  • fall (or slip) through the cracks

    • Escape from or be missed by something organized to catch or deal with one.

      ‘fatherless kids were not allowed to fall through the cracks’
      • ‘My guess is that this story will fall through the cracks, but it certainly has me intrigued.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, there are going to be those who fall through the cracks, into a life of bass fishing and stockcar racing.’
      • ‘I'm not voting because I fall through the cracks and nobody will miss me, but I will not go down fighting.’
      • ‘This is a case that the courts have let fall through the cracks through a variety of sort of technical procedural barriers.’
      • ‘My brief is to liaise with the prosecuting authorities and make sure that the case doesn't fall through the cracks.’
      • ‘Without them, some of our overlooked students (ESL, special needs, etc.) would fall through the cracks.’
      • ‘There's a lot of students who fall through the cracks.’
      • ‘For 11 years I've been here, patching up these people who fall through the cracks, and it hasn't been enough.’
      • ‘However, there will undoubtedly be friction in this process, and some soldiers will fall through the cracks.’
      • ‘Lots of good people would fall through the cracks without our assistance.’
  • get cracking

    • informal Act quickly and energetically.

      ‘most tickets have been snapped up, so get cracking if you want one’
      • ‘I got bored very quickly and slipped off to the study to get cracking on the current chapter of the book.’
      • ‘IT'S about time work on the Western link road got cracking.’
      • ‘The sooner Mr McDowell gets cracking on his reforms the better.’
      • ‘This building used to be a power station and was where Hitchcock got cracking on his early stuff.’
      • ‘Already a passable cellist, she went out, bought a Steinway, hired a teacher and got cracking on the eighty-eights.’
      • ‘Let's hope she takes her sewing kit with her and gets cracking on those curtains.’
      • ‘Getting home first last night I got cracking with tea, beef burgers with pasta bolognese, delicious, honestly!’
      • ‘If you insist on getting cracking before then, start them off in pots on a sunny windowsill.’
      • ‘As there is no alternative, they ought to get cracking right away.’
      • ‘If you can, then I expect you to get cracking on an Internet decision soon so you can reap the rewards!’
      be quick, hurry up, move quickly, go fast, hasten, make haste, speed, speed up, lose no time, press on, push on, run, dash, rush, hurtle, dart, race, fly, flash, shoot, streak, bolt, bound, blast, charge, chase, career, scurry, scramble, scamper, scuttle, sprint, gallop, go hell for leather, go like lightning
      View synonyms

Phrasal Verbs

  • crack down on

    • Take severe measures against.

      ‘we need to crack down hard on workplaces that break safety regulations’
      • ‘The government has cracked down on more complex tax-avoidance schemes.’
      • ‘An Executive source said this was typical of the chaos it hoped the new commissioner would crack down on.’
      • ‘Labour has taken tough measures to crack down on crime and anti-social behaviour.’
      • ‘Where these are not cracked down on immediately then further, and worse, anti-social behaviour usually follows.’
      • ‘Its still illegal, but what this does mean is that the police are cracking down on the harder drugs, like cocaine and heroin.’
      • ‘The Executive has introduced measures through the police bill to crack down on knife culture.’
      • ‘Effective prevention of petty crimes such as theft will enable the police to focus their efforts on cracking down on hard crime.’
      • ‘Sydney police have promised to crack down on all such surreptitious snapping.’
      • ‘The relationship between citizens and police has changed since the police started cracking down on organized crime.’
      • ‘Police are cracking down on crime in Bradford and have secured reductions in the rates of burglary, robbery and car crime.’
      get tough on, take severe measures against, take stern measures against, clamp down on, come down heavily on
      eliminate, abolish, eradicate, extinguish, quench, repress, stifle, suppress, put an end to, put a stop to, end, finish, get rid of, crush, put down, weed out, curb, nip in the bud, thwart, frustrate, scotch, squash, quash, quell, subdue, terminate, beat, overcome, defeat, rout, destroy, demolish, annihilate, wipe out, extirpate
      limit, restrain, restrict, check, keep in check, control, keep under control
      come down on like a ton of bricks, squelch, put the kibosh on, clobber
      View synonyms
  • crack up

    • 1Suffer an emotional breakdown under pressure.

      • ‘Many of us are visibly cracking up after serving two years.’
      • ‘‘If I had not had Diana and the children I would have cracked up and had a mental breakdown by now,’ he said.’
      • ‘The guys had cracked up so hard, but I was just very traumatized.’
      • ‘His stylish arthouse flick looks at three women as they crack up.’
      • ‘I was short-tempered and I was cracking up a bit under the pressure of it all.’
      • ‘He left the club having exhibited signs that he was cracking up under the strain months before.’
      break down, have a breakdown, lose control, be overcome, collapse, go to pieces, go out of one's mind, go mad, crumble, disintegrate
      View synonyms
    • 2Burst or cause to burst into laughter.

      • ‘I could tell the elder student wanted to crack up in laughter about then, but prevented himself from doing so with a mere smile.’
      • ‘He cracks up into laughter, his shoulders heaving uncontrollably.’
      • ‘We were laughing so hard that we just fell over cracking up, unable to control ourselves any longer.’
      • ‘Jules mouth was hanging open while Brad looked like he would burst out cracking up any moment.’
      • ‘Before I knew it I was buzzed and cracking up with laughter.’
      • ‘I really cracked up in laughter when I read the headline ‘Protest is the backbone of democracy’.’
      • ‘He blushed furiously, and Alex cracked up with laughter.’
      • ‘Beth cracks up and falls back down onto the towel.’
      • ‘Melissa narrowed her eyes and glared at the two guys, who were cracking up with laughter.’
      • ‘Then without warning, instead of blowing up, she started cracking up in hysterical laughter.’
      • ‘He shut the door in his face and led Mystie back to his room where they cracked up and collapsed on his bed.’
      • ‘"Oh Jesus " Alice said wearily and then cracked up laughing.’
      • ‘This time I can't hold back my laughter and I crack up.’
      • ‘Kayla heard them cracking up into laughter from her spot in the kitchen.’
      • ‘Ancestral forms of play and laughter existed in other animals long before humans began cracking up.’
      • ‘He heard the whole class with the exception of her friends crack up laughing.’
      • ‘All it takes is for one person to crack up and we all collapse.’
      • ‘Lila said and the girls started cracking up with laughter.’
      • ‘Luckily, it's hard to get too stressed when you're trying to stop yourself cracking up with laughter.’
      • ‘Stuart standing there is too much for the security guard and he cracks up laughing.’
      burst out laughing, dissolve into laughter, roar with laughter, shake with laughter, laugh uncontrollably, guffaw, be doubled up, split one's sides, hold one's sides
      View synonyms


Old English cracian make an explosive noise; of Germanic origin; related to Dutch kraken and German krachen.