Definition of crackle in US English:



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  • 1Make a rapid succession of slight cracking noises.

    ‘the fire suddenly crackled and spat sparks’
    • ‘I sat curled up on the Victorian sofa watching the flames burn and crackle in the fireplace.’
    • ‘She could hear leaves crackling underfoot as she and her father walked through the mountains in autumn.’
    • ‘Then she crackled her knuckles and darted out into the Meadow, where she was greeted with an unfamiliar sight.’
    • ‘The radio transmitter crackled again and the pilot swore under his breath.’
    • ‘The sound of his voice crackled loudly over the speaker, which couldn't quite keep up with his volume.’
    • ‘The fire crackled and sparked, sending small bits of flame into the crisp night air.’
    • ‘A speaker in the ceiling crackled loudly with some code and two nurses hurried up the hall.’
    • ‘He could not hear the flames crackling around him, nor Sorcha calling for him to stop.’
    • ‘Birds were calling at us, and leaves and sticks snapped and crackled beneath our feet.’
    • ‘The fire in the fireplace crackled softly and set a soft glow upon the room.’
    • ‘A small fire crackled merrily on the hearth over which a kettle hung.’
    • ‘The radio crackles again and we are called to a pub to deal with a fight that has broken out.’
    • ‘A Fire crackled in the fireplace, and the furniture was in ok shape.’
    • ‘Is there anything quite so snug and cozy, more redolent of home than a good fire crackling on the hearth?’
    • ‘Hunkered down in my studies, I'd hear the trailer suddenly begin to crackle like a beer can crushed in a fist.’
    • ‘Just as Kimberly was about to say something else, the intercom crackled to life.’
    • ‘Machine guns crackled across the late afternoon sky.’
    • ‘Another bolt of lightning crackled loudly over their heads.’
    • ‘The wind sang its gentle desert lullaby, and the prisoners' fires crackled and snapped quietly.’
    • ‘He covered one wall and then another when his comm unit crackled again.’
    sizzle, frizzle, fizz, hiss, crack, snap, sputter
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    1. 1.1 Give a sense of great tension or animation.
      ‘attraction and antagonism were crackling between them’
      • ‘Nancy Dowd's script crackles with wit, while Newman is at his manipulative, womanising best.’
      • ‘Tommy seemed unaffected by the tension that crackled through the holding.’
      • ‘The fact that he himself is a murderer merely adds to the background tension that crackles from the first page.’
      • ‘Chandler's words crackle and dance, amusing us while instilling a sense of impending doom.’
      • ‘Her line deliveries crackle with a wit and grace all but absent in today's market.’
      • ‘Even the humans and the animals could sense something was wrong; everything around them crackled with tension.’
      • ‘The manager seemed cool, calm and collected as the place crackled with excitement and tension.’
      • ‘The air crackled with tension and Alec thought he was going to explode if he did not get answers soon.’
      • ‘The former had called, but the conversations had been brief and crackling with tension.’
      • ‘The air crackled with energy while my body pulsed with it.’
      • ‘Factory Records are in town and everyone I know is crackling with anticipation.’
      • ‘She told him how she sensed the tension crackling between us on the set.’
      • ‘The tension that crackled between the two was enough to snap a board in half.’
      • ‘Just the thought of that garden, I admit, fills me with something crackling and sharp, an electric kind of longing.’
      • ‘Every ball has resonated with meaning, every moment has crackled with tension.’
      • ‘The air between us seems to crackle and fizz with tension.’
      • ‘The air in the Odyssey arena begins to crackle with excitement.’
      • ‘The room snapped and crackled with tension as every eyes turned towards her, observing her, cautiously, amusingly.’
      • ‘The air crackled with the pure energy, making Kino's ears ring.’


  • 1A sound made up of a rapid succession of slight cracking sounds.

    ‘there was a crackle and a whine from the microphone’
    • ‘She closed her eyes and listened to the soft crackle of the warm campfire.’
    • ‘Chest examination revealed fine late inspiratory crackles with otherwise normal breath sounds.’
    • ‘I threw it back and spun around when I heard a loud crackle.’
    • ‘The only sound was the soft crackle of flames and crickets chirping in the field.’
    • ‘Sharp crackles of escaping air fill the night already alive with the sounds of crickets.’
    • ‘There was a dead silence in the room except for the occasional crackle of the jumping embers inside the fireplace.’
    • ‘The music sometimes sounds a bit wobbly, and pops and crackles are heard throughout the mixes.’
    • ‘The cave was silent except for an occasional crackle from the dying fire.’
    • ‘"All the time I was climbing over the wreckage, I could hear the crackle of flames.’
    • ‘There was a loud crackle of flames, and it was over.’
    • ‘The crackle of gunfire could be heard over the noon call to prayer.’
    • ‘My hands tingle and I hiss as the slight, uncomfortable crackle of electricity.’
    • ‘Adam sat bold upright as the crackle of twigs breaking caught his attention.’
    • ‘A crackle of thunder ripped through the darkening sky and the rain became more intense.’
    • ‘There is lots of white noise in the track - crackles and pops that indicate age and handling mishaps.’
    • ‘His boots clumped loudly on the stone floor, accompanied by the sharp crackle of burning wood.’
    • ‘They sounded exactly the same as in the movie, with the radio crackle afterwards.’
    • ‘The sound is richer and free of the very occasional crackle and hiss that existed on the laserdisc.’
    • ‘Auscultation of the lungs revealed inspiratory crackles in the lower lung zones.’
    • ‘Above the static and the crackle of automatic gunfire there was the sound of sobbing and screaming.’
    crackle, crackling, buzz, buzzing, hiss, hissing, sizzle, sizzling, crack, sputter, white noise
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  • 2A pattern of minute surface cracks on painted or varnished surfaces, glazed ceramics, or glass.

    • ‘The crackle varnish of recent years provides a geological quality probably inspired by the Porcelain series of works by a 1990s collaborator, Heather Straka.’
    • ‘Vary the thickness of your crackle glaze until you obtain the desired appearance.’
    • ‘She also creates crackle finishes, which makes the frame truly customized.’
    • ‘The surface of the drawing was then polished, and parts were carefully burnt in with a heat lamp, producing a crackle pattern.’


Late Middle English: from crack + -le.