Meaning of “crack” in the English Dictionary

"crack" in British English

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uk /kræk/ us /kræk/

crack verb (BREAK)

B2 [ T or I ] to break something so that it does not separate, but very thin lines appear on its surface, or to become broken in this way:

A stone hit the window and cracked the glass.
I cracked my tooth as I fell.
The walls cracked and the roof collapsed in the earthquake.

[ I ] informal to become mentally and physically weak:

Stress and overwork are causing teachers to crack (up).

[ I ] informal to fail as a result of problems:

Their relationship began to crack (up) after their child died.

[ I ] If someone cracks, that person begins to feel weak and agrees that they have been defeated:

He cracked during questioning and told us where to find the stolen goods.

More examples

crack verb (GET INTO)

[ T ] to break something open, especially in order to reach or use what is inside:

Crack three eggs into a bowl and mix them together.
He cracked (open) the nuts with his hands.

[ T ] also crack into sth to get into someone else's computer system without permission and get information or do something illegal

crack verb (MAKE SOUND)

[ I or T ] to make a sudden, short noise, or to cause something to make this noise:

The whip cracked over the horses' heads.
He's always cracking his knuckles (= pulling the joints of his fingers to make a noise).

[ I ] If a voice cracks, its sound changes because the person is upset:

Her voice cracked with emotion as she told the story.


uk /kræk/ us /kræk/

crack noun (NARROW SPACE)

C2 [ C ] a very narrow space between parts of something:

Cracks had appeared in the dry ground.
We peered through the crack in the floorboards.
figurative Cracks began to show in his façade of self-confidence.
(just) a crack

so that there is a very small space:

She opened the door just a crack to listen to the conversation.

More examples

crackadjective [ before noun ]

uk /kræk/ us /kræk/

(Definition of “crack” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"crack" in American English

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us /kræk/

crack verb (DAMAGE)

[ I/T ] to damage something by causing thin lines or spaces to appear on its surface; break slightly:

[ I ] The concrete on the front of the building had begun to crack.
[ T ] The X-ray showed that she had cracked a bone in her foot.

crack verb (HIT SOMETHING)

[ T always + adv/prep ] to hit something hard:

He fell backward, his head cracking against a tree.

crack verb (OPEN)

[ T ] to break something open, esp. in order to reach or use what is inside:

He cracked three eggs into a mixing bowl.

[ T ] If you crack a code (= message in symbols), you discover what it means.

crack verb (MAKE A NOISE)

[ I/T ] to make a sudden, sharp noise or to cause something to make such a noise:

[ I ] All around us the lightning was cracking.

crack verb (LOSE CONTROL)

[ I ] to weaken and become less able to think in a reasonable way, esp. because of anxiety or fear:

In spite of intense questioning for over eight hours, she never cracked.

crack verb (JOKE)

[ T ] to make a joke or amusing remark:

Jerry’s always cracking jokes.

cracknoun [ C ]

us /kræk/

crack noun [ C ] (ATTEMPT)

an attempt; a try:

I’ve never tried to cook this before, but I thought I’d have a crack at it.

crack noun [ C ] (JOKE)

a joking remark that is critical of someone or slightly insulting:

She’s always making cracks about how much I eat.

crack noun [ C ] (DAMAGE)

a thin line or space in the surface of something, usually a sign of damage:

A series of cracks developed in the road surface.

A crack is also a narrow space:

She opened the door a crack.

crackadjective [ not gradable ]

us /kræk/

crack adjective [ not gradable ] (SKILLFUL)

skillful; expert:

The man’s a crack technician.

(Definition of “crack” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)