Definition of whack in US English:



[with object]informal
  • 1Strike forcefully with a sharp blow.

    ‘his attacker whacked him on the head’
    no object ‘she found a stick to whack at the branches’
    • ‘She thrashed around wildly and whacked me on the side of the head.’
    • ‘A Striker loose from the pack moved in and whacked her with the blunt end of her spear.’
    • ‘At my first weekly hourlong lesson last spring, English watched me whack a hundred balls over the net, then suggested that we radically overhaul my form to enhance my chi.’
    • ‘One of them was carrying a ratchet bar and he whacked me over the back of the head.’
    • ‘As a rule of thumb you should whack at least two feet from a nine-footer, more from a longer board.’
    • ‘So I finally got my sharp arts-and-crafts scissors and whacked a good few inches off, and now it comes to just below my chin.’
    • ‘He and Gin found a perfect tree and began to whack at it with their axes.’
    • ‘Other acts have included a helicopter dangling a cheeseburger in front of him, people whacking him with golf balls and drunken revelers pelting him with eggs.’
    • ‘He was so annoying with that every now and then, Candice just wanted to ball up her fist, and whack him one, real hard.’
    • ‘‘Just do it’ I beg before another one whacks me and I'm back on the floor.’
    • ‘During that time, Nebulon continued to whack the small, pink rubber ball against the wooden paddle.’
    • ‘A kind of Pinocchio sans magic, Petrushka dies a banal non-death, getting whacked by a blow to his empty head.’
    • ‘Still, it was have been nice to have whacked him upside the head with a two-by-four, but that would have been wrong.’
    • ‘Soon enough, the court discovers her boss has presented falsified evidence, and he's whacked by the thugs for blowing the case.’
    • ‘She whacks him across the face again, and his head cracks as he hits the floor, harder than last time.’
    • ‘A player named Jesse is lamenting the work he put into his character last year, only to have been whacked out of the game inside of 10 minutes by an overeager combatant.’
    • ‘Then after she's whacked some other blonde child her mother grabbed her and slapped her backside.’
    • ‘Players use their own clubs to whack at the golf ball, which swings around and lands in the net.’
    • ‘I turned around, and when I was turning I saw just someone was running by me, and he just, like, whacked me with this long black stick.’
    • ‘Anybody who gets their purse stolen, whacked by their spouse or smacked in a bar should raise a toast to bad drivers starting July 1.’
    hit, beat, strike, punch, knock, rap, smack, slap, thump, thwack, crack, cudgel, thrash, bang, drub, welt, cuff, buffet, pummel, box someone's ears
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1North American Murder.
      ‘he was whacked while sitting in his car’
      • ‘For those of you keeping score, this is the casino boat company in which one of Abramoff's co-owners was later whacked in a gangland style hit after the things started to go South.’
      • ‘The ‘Ice-Pick Murderer’ had whacked anyone Kay asked him to and hurt anyone else that he hadn't managed to kill.’
      kill, do to death, put to death, assassinate, execute, liquidate, eliminate, neutralize, dispatch, butcher, cut to pieces, slaughter, massacre, wipe out, mow down
      View synonyms


  • 1A sharp or resounding blow.

    • ‘The vision of what we're trying to get is go out and give the hornets nest a few whacks and get them all out in the open and have it out with them once and for all.’
    • ‘He probably had a couple whacks with something, a tire iron or a bowling trophy.’
    • ‘Her answer: ‘Oh, probably a whack on the head with a club.’’
    • ‘Steven watched them walk away until he felt a sudden sharp whack in the shin.’
    • ‘It chilled the blood to see a 30-year-old schoolteacher, John Petersen, administer whacks of the cane with two goals in the first 13 minutes.’
    • ‘He reached out and gave the statue a tentative whack on the side, then a series of harder slaps.’
    • ‘Our teachers are very supportive. If by chance we start dreaming in class, we get a sharp whack on our knuckles to bring us back to the real world.’
    • ‘Skipper Jim Bentley was forced off after taking a whack in the face in a clash of heads, while David Perkins also took a kick on the leg.’
    • ‘Resounding whack between his shoulder blades, which had him choking on his mouthful of beer.’
    • ‘Give the smelly kid (I'm talking about those above 6 yrs old) a whack on the head with a giant pikachu toy and he will know better than to challenge u in future.’
    • ‘So I held the shot glass under the hot water tap and then gave it a smart whack on the counter top.’
    • ‘You have to have a surprised face for each one you receive or you'll get a smack in the ear or a whack on the side of your head or one with da wooden spoon on your arm.’
    • ‘Philosophically speaking, here on Earth, when we want to know what's inside a rock, we take a hammer and give it a whack.’
    • ‘Hearing the loud whack, he began to pound fist after fist, continuing long after his hands became white and tingly.’
    • ‘It took a total of around 25 whacks before it regained its colour again.’
    • ‘In 2003, we are sometimes told by the die-hard teachers of another time that moral fibre was introduced into the pupils' constitutions by a crack across the head or a whack with a cane.’
    • ‘After returning from his job as a writer for the American Civil Liberties Union one evening this spring, William Potter grabbed an iron pry bar and, with a few whacks, demolished the kitchen of his Petworth rowhouse.’
    • ‘My mother often plucked me from unexpected places all over the palace and escorted me back to my room with a sharp tongue and a good whack on the ear.’
    • ‘For dogs of moderate aggressiveness, a sharp whack on the snout with a drumstick is usually enough.’
    • ‘After it was over, Gladstone noted to Aberdeen that the vote ‘not only knocked us down but sent us down with such a whack, that one heard one's head thump as it struck the ground.’’
    blow, hit, punch, thump, thwack, crack, smack, slap, bang, welt, cuff, box
    View synonyms
  • 2A try or attempt.

    ‘we decided to take a whack at spotting the decade's trends’
    • ‘I have decided to let the indomitable Mr. Bonnet take a whack at responding to your reviews this week.’
    • ‘I thought you and your readers might take a whack at something that has always nagged at me.’
    • ‘I guess to be fair, I should take a whack at it myself.’
    • ‘The interest developed, as did the desire to feel the racket, have a whack, and get thrilled over the effect of the effort.’
    • ‘We can take a firm whack at these books that warrant coverage and, together, we can ensure that this heinous backlog is, to some small degree, abated.’
    • ‘Both our Video Game Editors would take a whack at the game, but they would draw straws as to who covered what.’
    • ‘I'll just loosen my girdle and take a whack at it.’
    effort, endeavour, try, bid, venture, trial, experiment
    View synonyms
  • 3British A specified share of or contribution to something.

    ‘motorists pay a fair whack for the use of the roads through taxes’
    • ‘With any likelihood, half the money will probably come from abroad, but we'll need a big whack of Hollywood money.’
    • ‘There should still be a fair whack of private equity cash left over for young, high-growth companies - particularly those that have got past the initial investment stage.’
    • ‘They saw it as a pot of money, so all they had to do was nominate some centres that they might call growth centres, and they'd get a whack of money out of the Federal government.’
    • ‘He simply made a whack of money selling shares in Iona.’
    • ‘A hefty whack when you were only earning 48 weekly.’
    • ‘I was told I could take this whack of money or I could go back to subbing features.’
    portion, part, division, bit, quota, allowance, ration, allocation, allotment, lot, measure, due
    View synonyms


  • out of whack

    • Out of order; not working.

      ‘all their calculations were out of whack’
      • ‘We turn down quite a few invitations here at the Diary to enter journalism awards simply because we are totally out of whack with the subject matter.’
      • ‘Something, or somebody, is always out of whack or out of commission.’
      • ‘As the system aged, exchange rates grew progressively out of whack.’
      • ‘Tomorrow we are definitely doing the routine thing - both of us are out of whack with the clock, and need rest.’
      • ‘Although Hugo's routine has been a little out of whack, I'm sticking to our routine in the hopes it'll pan out.’
      • ‘I did some revisions and ended up removing two or so chapters and throwing the whole order out of whack.’
      • ‘When he's not, the batting order is thrown out of whack, with hitters moved into slots they are not suited to.’
      • ‘So financial experts are warning holiday impulse buying can end up throwing your carefully planned budget out of whack.’
      • ‘If the amount of the reporting is out of whack with the reality of the threats, then one place to begin is by better matching the former to the latter.’
      • ‘These equations always seem to be out of whack, but it takes time to withdraw from the hungry ghosts within and give more to the right people.’
      out of order, not working, not in working order, not functioning, broken, broken-down, out of commission, acting up, unserviceable, faulty, defective, non-functional, inoperative, in disrepair
      View synonyms
  • at a (or one) whack

    • informal At one time.

      ‘he built twenty houses at one whack’
      • ‘After he kills ten yellow jackets at a whack, Jack is recruited for killing some animals that are terrorizing a town.’
      • ‘For example, taking off with skeevy men for 45 minutes at a whack, as I waited on grouchy after-workers, answered the telephone and tried to find where Frank had hidden people's clothes.’
      • ‘I usually load a ship six months at a whack with 8,000 pounds of meat.’
      • ‘Unfortunately we're stuck on hold for 5 minutes at a whack because these sites aren't on the allowed list.’
      • ‘The basic premise was that we would commence with a 24-inch barrel, test for accuracy and velocity, and then shorten it two inches at a whack before repeating our testing.’
      • ‘The three men were from Florida and are hiking the AT in sections, knocking out the trail a week at a whack twice a year.’
      • ‘And since they leave me in these little rooms for half-an hour at a whack, I could have plenty of time.’
      • ‘What all of these engine and fuel numbers come down to is that the T - 38 can fly for about 2 hours at a whack.’
      • ‘I am on board the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star as it back-and-rams the frozen ocean to open up a fourteen-mile-long channel into McMurdo Station, fifty feet at a whack.’
      • ‘When you watch a movie it plays for two hours or more at a whack, and the players are designed to play movies many, many times!’

Phrasal Verbs

  • whack off

    • Masturbate.


Early 18th century: imitative, or perhaps an alteration of thwack.