American English

Definition of crack verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    breakVerb Forms present simple I / you / we / they crack
    he / she / it cracks
    past simple cracked
    -ing form cracking
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  1. 1[intransitive, transitive] to break without dividing into separate parts; to break something in this way The ice cracked as I stepped onto it. crack something He has cracked a bone in his arm. Her lips were dry and cracked.
  2. 2[intransitive, transitive] to break open or into pieces; to break something in this way + adv./prep. A chunk of the cliff had cracked off in a storm. (figurative) His face cracked into a smile. crack something to crack a nut crack something + adv./prep. She cracked an egg into the pan.
  3. hit
  4. 3[transitive] crack something/somebody (on/against something) to hit something or someone with a short hard blow I cracked my head on the low ceiling. He cracked me on the head with a ruler.
  5. make sound
  6. 4[intransitive, transitive] to make a sharp sound; to make something do this A shot cracked across the ridge. [no passive] crack something He cracked his whip and galloped away.
  7. of voice
  8. 5[intransitive] if your voice cracks, it changes in depth, volume, etc. suddenly and in a way that you cannot control In a voice cracking with emotion, he told us of his son's death.
  9. under pressure
  10. 6[intransitive] to no longer be able to function normally because of pressure Things are terrible at work and people are cracking under the strain. They questioned him for days before he cracked. The old institutions are cracking.
  11. find solution
  12. 7[transitive] crack something to find the solution to a problem, etc. ; to find the way to do something difficult to crack the enemy's code (informal) After a year in this job I think I've got it cracked!
  13. stop someone or something
  14. 8[transitive] crack something to find a way of stopping or defeating a criminal or an enemy Police have cracked a major drug ring.
  15. break into something
  16. 9[transitive, intransitive] to break into something illegally crack something At the age of sixteen, Johnny was already cracking safes. crack into something They cracked into the computer network and stole a lot of information.
  17. open bottle
  18. 10[transitive] crack (open) a bottle (informal) to open a bottle, especially of wine, and drink it
  19. a joke
  20. 11[transitive] crack a joke to tell a joke
  21. a smile
  22. 12[transitive] crack a smile to smile slightly or suddenly She was trying to appear very serious, but I saw her crack a smile.
  23. Idioms
    crack the whip
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    to use your authority or power to make someone work very hard, usually by treating them in a strict way
    get cracking (informal)
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    to begin immediately and work quickly synonym get going There's a lot to do, so let's get cracking.
    not all, everything, etc. somebody's cracked up to be (informal)
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    not as good as people say He's not nearly as good a writer as he's cracked up to be.
    Phrasal Verbscrack down (on somebody/something)crack into somethingcrack upcrack somebody up
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: crack