Green’s Dictionary of Slang

crack n.1

1. in the context of speech.

(a) a lie; a boast, an act of bragging, exaggeration; 1990s+ use may be a euph. for crap n.1 (4)

[UK]Skelton Why Come Ye Nat to Courte? line 256: For all theyr crack and bost.
[UK]J. Rastell Gentleness and Nobility line 22: But I wold thou knewist it, for all thy krakkys, I am able to bye now all the land That thou hast.
J. Coke Eng. and Fr. Heralds iii (1877) 92: Crackes, lyes, vauntes, bostes and fables.
[UK]Becon Early Works (1843) 244: But to what point came all his proud cracks?
[UK]G. Whetstone ‘Ortchard of Repentance’ Rocke of Regard 21: Beare with his talk, his crakes, and [...] tauntes.
[UK]Spenser Faerie Queene II xi : Leasinges, backbytinges and vain-glorious crakes.
[UK]R. Burton Anatomy of Melancholy I. ii. III. xiv. 122: Out of this fountain [conceit] proceed all those cracks and brags.
[UK]O. Goldsmith She Stoops to Conquer Act II: That’s a damned confounded — crack.
[UK]Belfast News-Letter 2 Jan. 4/2: James an me were so tickled with Cursecowl’s wild, outrageous [...] humersome way of telling his crack.
[UK]C. McPherson Weir 17: Jimmy talking all that crack with Finbar.

(b) (orig. Irish/Scot., also craic) talk; a conversation, a chat; often constr. with the, with an added suggestion that the talk takes place within a pleasant social setting, while sense 1e refers to the setting itself; thus on the crack, conversing; cite 2021 (2) suggests an event, a circumstance; no speech is implied [although the ety remains SE crack, recent use has incorporated Irish craic; ult. OE cracian, a crack].

[Scot]A. Ramsay Gentle Shepherd II i: Come sit down, / And gie’s your Cracks – What’s a’ the News in Town?
[Scot]H. Clinker Hist. of the Haveral Wives (1799) 2: Two old wives, Maggy and Janet, at their rocks, began their crack as follows.
[UK]R. Anderson ‘The Twee Auld Men’ Cumberland Ballads (1805) 88: What, Gabriel! come swat thy ways down on the sattle, / I long for a bit of a crack.
[Scot]W. Scott Rob Roy (1883) 257: I’ll speak to these gentlemen in a gliffing – But first I maun hae a crack wi’ an auld acquaintance here.
[US]‘Jack Downing’ Andrew Jackson 68: While in crack with the gineral [she] made a slapdash at the snappers.
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 269: Aw wad like nought better than to have yen or twee hours crack with thou, ower a jug o’ ale.
[UK]E. Waugh Barrel Organ 13: Hasto no news? Thae’rt seldom short of a crack o’ some sort.
[UK]Henley & Stevenson Deacon Brodie II tab.IV i: I had a crack wi’ the laddie.
[UK]Cambridge Indep. Press 1 June 3/7: The minister an’ me got on the crack. He says to me [etc.].
[UK]H. Smart Long Odds I 39: [He]enjoyed himself immensely, running into the city constantly to have a crack with his old friends.
[UK]Mirror of Life 12 Jan. 14/1: Johnny and we, a few years back, had a big ‘crack’ on the merits of Tom Sayers.
[US](con. 1875) F.T. Bullen Cruise of the ‘Cachalot’ 198: It was not often we got a chance for a ‘wee bit crack,’ as the Scotch say.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 1 Jan. 4/8: ’Twas scores of early birds he found / To have a taste and crack.
[Ire]L. Doyle Ballygullion 14: Sit down on the ditch, an we’ll have a crack till ye come round a bit. [Ibid.] 23: There was always good crack to be had there, too; for the widow was the terror av the country for her tongue.
[UK]C. Holme Lonely Plough (1931) 78: There was a frivolous tendancy to regard the meeting more as a friendly ‘crack’ than a call to business.
[UK]J. Buchan Mr Standfast (1930) 584: Have ye ony special taste ye could lead the crack on to, if ye’re engaged in conversation?
[UK]N. Jacob Man Who Found Himself (1952) 79: Tha’s been ‘avin’ a rare crack wi’ them old fellers.
[US]J. Spenser Limey 242: I’ll be mighty glad when we’ve had a man-size ‘crack’ (talk) to Stan.
[Ire]L. Doyle Back to Ballygullion 50: I was sitting in the office of my friend, Sandy Morrison, one day, hoping for some ‘crack’.
[UK]L. Dunne Goodbye to The Hill (1966) 55: When one or two of the mots had a bit of crack with him he blushed again.
[Ire]E. Mac Thomáis Janey Mack, Me Shirt is Black 10: The selling, the crack, the good manners, the friendliness.
[Ire](con. 1970s) G. Byrne Pictures in my Head 64: It was typical of many excursions to town for the craic on Saturday nights.
[UK]Observer Rev. 26 Sept. 2: I’d have a proper crack with you. But if you said the wrong thing, I’d bat you one.
[Ire]P. Howard Miseducation of Ross O’Carroll-Kelly (2004) 107: I meet the guys [...] and we’re having the crack.
[UK]R. Milward Kimberly’s Capital Punishment (2023) 399: On account of [embalming] being [...] ‘better craic’ than doing plumbing.
[Ire]L. McInerney Glorious Heresies 113: ‘And then you all hug or some shit and Tony goes home to resume gargling himself into the ground. Great craic’.
[Ire]Breen & Conlon Hitmen 238: ‘I had a bit of craic with D last night’.
[Ire]L. McInerney Rules of Revelation 268: [used neutrally , the setting is a funeral] The boys carried the coffin to the hearse [...] ‘It’s too hot for this craic,’ Yvette said.

(c) (orig. US) a telling, sharp remark.

[US]Sun (NY) 21 May 28/1: ‘He winks at me not to make any crack, an’ drops me a quarter’.
[US]W.J. Kountz Billy Baxter’s Letters 81: When we entered any of the big restaurants I would send her along ahead, and I would trail to hear the cracks.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 121: Didn’t you ketch on to why I was making that crack?
[US]M. Glass Potash and Perlmutter 283: Lookyhere, Abe [...] before you would make some cracks about my Minnie’s family, how about your Rosie’s brother, the one what —.
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Caesar (1932) 38: One crack out of any of you and they’ll pat you with a spade.
[US]J. Weidman What’s In It For Me? 5: She began angrily, but stopped before the crack passed her lips.
[UK]Wodehouse Mating Season 24: Popping out at him [...] and making offensive cracks about Jonah and the Whale.
[US]Kerouac On The Road (1972) 241: I was in a movie with a boy and he made a crack about my mother.
[UK]F. Norman Guntz 76: After a few dirty cracks from Tosher the ponce all was well.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 43: I knew it was an off key crack as soon as it exploded against my ears.
[US](con. 1972) J. Ehrlichman Witness to Power 287: ‘Kicking the press is an art,’ Nixon continued. ‘Your flabby-and-dumb crack was good.’.
[UK]G. Burn Happy Like Murderers 191: So he says, ‘What’s the crack then? What’s wrong?’.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 131: Ut was tha fuckin crack agen abou’ beun naïve.
[US]W. Keyser ‘Carny Lingo’ in 🌐 Crack — A phrase an individual carny polishes and tweaks until it is super-effective at getting the attention of passing marks.

(d) (orig. US) a joke.

[US]Ade More Fables in Sl. (1960) 124: They wanted to [...] hand the Merited Rebuke to some of the Husbands and Brothers who had been making Funny Cracks.
[US]R. Lardner You Know Me Al (1984) 87: I made some crack about Violet and Hazel just to tease Florrie.
[US]M. Levin Reporter 57: The one about the robber, and the crack about the ass’s milk.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan (1936) 353: She made a dirty crack about Fran Reilley.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 109: Man, t’ain’t no crack but a solid fact.
[UK]K. Williams Diaries 17 Mar. 124: Lines, business, cracks — corn — the lot [...] just get your laughs any way you can and devil take the hindmost.
[UK]R. Rendell Best Man To Die (1981) 12: Charlie’s crack could be taken as a compliment.
[US]L. Heinemann Close Quarters (1987) 240: Some tried to laugh and make light cracks, but the wounded sat stoically.
[US]T. Wolfe Bonfire of the Vanities 169: He somehow had learned of the Dead Mouse crack.
[UK]S. Armitage ‘Eclipse’ in CloudCuckooLand 124: They think it’s a good crack, leaving me playing blind man’s buff.
[UK]Observer Screen 5 Mar. 7: The telly audience laughs at Fayed’s first great crack, ‘you can call me Al Capone if you like’.
[US]A. Tucher ‘Desperation’ in ThugLit Sept. [ebook] She considered making a crack about liking desperation in a man.
[Aus]A. Nette Orphan Road 136: Chance let the crack go through to the keeper.

(e) (also craic) fun, amusement, informal entertainment; thus cracksome adj., jolly, amusing; also used of people.

[Ire]L. Mackay Mourne Folk 71: Man, he was the best crack ivir I heerd!
[Ire](con. 1820s) E. O’Tuathail Munterloney Folk Tales n.p.: When we came back we invited a few of the neighbours in and we had the two quarts of poitín and all in all we had some crack [BS].
[Ire]T. Murphy Whistle in the Dark (1978) Act II: We could bring him, like, for the crack.
[Ire]R. Doyle Commitments 142: I like the girls. They’re better crack than most o’ the young ones I know. [...] Wha’ abou’ the music? – It’s okay, said Dean. – It’s good crack, yeh know.
[Ire]F. Mac Anna Ship Inspector 204: Yis are a bit loud and your man can’t sing but yis are good crack.
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We have No 115: If you could work a fiddle, that was considered great craic.
[UK]Guardian G2 30 May 7: There was no television in those days and so they created their own entertainment, ‘We would gather in each others’ cottages for a bit of craic’.
[UK]N. ‘Razor’ Smith Raiders 188: Just for the crack, we bought some of those Santa hats that street traders sell.
[Ire]L. McInerney Glorious Heresies 289: Izzy bounced over. ‘You’re no craic.’ ‘I am usually. I’m just fffffucked’.
[Ire]P Howard Braywatch 313: You used to be hilarious, Honor. Now you’re zero focking craic.

(f) (US campus) a witty or funny person.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Nov. 1: crack – a funny or witty person.
[US]Eble Sl. and Sociability 44: The field that I call destruction is the largest and encompasses several hundred slang items built on forms that in general usage refer to kinds of injury, harm, decomposition, or incapacitation: [...] crack ‘witty person’.

(g) (Irish) insulting speech.

[Ire]P. Howard Miseducation of Ross O’Carroll-Kelly (2004) 11: They stort giving me the usual crack, roysh – ‘Are you getting a spice burger from the noggin Grill later?’.
[Ire]A. Killilea Boyo-wulf at 14 Apr. 🌐 Then some mad feen went through a time of shite craic.

(h) a topic, no humour or entertainment suggested.

[Ire]L. McInerney Glorious Heresies 310: [of a murder plan] ‘I’m sure you have lads better qualified for this kind of craic’.

2. in the context of a sudden noise.

(a) (also bum-crack, cracker) breaking wind.

[[UK]The Frere and Boy (1836) lxx: Than her tayle be weythe Lowd began to blow [...] The weyfe was fferd of a crake Nat on worde more sche spake].
Mery Jests of the Widow Edyth n.p.: And eke at supper he stoode at her back, / So neare that, and if she had let a crack / Never so styll, he must have had knowledge.
[UK]J. Harington Metamorphosis of Ajax D: To break a little winde [...] A King can cause no more, a cracke doth doe no lesse.
[UK]Marston Malcontent III iii: As Irishmen do bum-cracks.
[UK]Middleton Phoenix I iv: cap.: Away sail I, fare thee well. tang.: A lusty crack of wind go with thee.
Tom Thumbe in Hazlitt III (1866) line 113: But as the tinker climb’d a stile, by chance he let a cracke.
[UK]Laughing Mercury 25 Aug. - 8 Sept. 175: [She] let such a Bum-cracke that with the winde of her Morter-piece she blew down London-bridge.
[UK]Mercurius Fumigosus 6 5 July 44: The Devill [...] let fly such a crack, that he blew down three Wind-mills in Barbycan.
[UK] ‘Fryar & Boye’ in Furnivall & Hales Bishop Percy’s Folio Manuscript of Loose and Humorous Songs (1868) 16: Ffull curstlye shee lookt on him tho; / that looke another cracke lett goe / which did a thunder rise. [Ibid.] 23: As shee dancet [...] fast her tayle did double each cracke, / loud as a water Mill.
[UK]J. Howell Th?rologia n.p: I find here two Proverbs verified, the one is a homely one, viz. Chanter a un Asne, il vous donnera un pet, Sing to an Asse and he will give you a Bum-crack.
[UK] ‘Andrew & Maudlin’ in Playford Pills to Purge Melancholy II 66: Kate Laughed heartily at this same smack, / And loud she did answer it with a Bum-crack.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy I 28: To examine if the Crack, Came from him or the Lords in Lawn.
[UK]Arse Musica title page: To Don Fart-in-hand-o Puff-in dorst, Professor of Bombast in the University of Crack-o, on the Benefit of Farting.
[UK]Pleasant Hist. of Poor Robin 11: She burst into laughter, let such a crack that the grains flew about his face.
[UK]Friar and Boy 9: A crack like roaring thunder. [Ibid.] 11: With that cracker she let fly, / Which seemed to shake the ground. [...] The little boy replied, / My mother has a good report, / You hear from her b--ks--e.
[Ire]Joyce letter 82 Dec. to Nora Barnacle in Ellman Sel. Letters (1975) 185: You had an arse full of farts that night, [...] big fat fellows, long windy ones, quick little merry cracks and a lot of tiny little naughty farties.
[Ire]G. Coughlan Everyday Eng. and Sl. 🌐 Crack (n): fartnote.

(b) a pistol.

[UK]W.J. Neale Paul Periwinkle 427: ‘Most likely he’s got a pair of cracks in that pocket.’ ‘Cracks, gentlemen! what do you mean?’ ‘What do we mean? you never heard pistols called cracks before.’.

(c) dry wood.

[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor (1968) I 328/2: The next process is to look for some crack (some dry wood to light a fire); this is the boy’s work.
[UK]Sl. Dict.

(d) a shot from a weapon.

[US]W.H. Thomes Slaver’s Adventures 120: I wish you a good day, unless you would like to take a crack at me, just for friendship’s sake.
[UK]Mirror of Life 8 Dec. 3/3: ‘Pa won’t hurt you. If he wanted to, he’d bored you the first crack’.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 212: Pulled out that old revolver [...] and took a crack at her.
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Lily of St. Pierre’ Runyon on Broadway (1954) 134: It is the last crack which brings Louie down.
[US]D. Fuchs Low Company 270: Who the hell let out that first crack anyway?

3. in fig. uses.

(a) any person, animal or thing that approaches perfection.

[UK]J. Shirley Hyde Park IV iii: 1st gent.: What dost think, Jockey? 2nd gent.: The crack o’ the field’s against you.
W. Dunkin Parson’s Revels (2010) 62: [T]he bold Aeneas, Crack / Of Ilium.
[Ire]J. O’Keeffe Wild Oats (1792) 34: This new actor you brag of – that crack of your company.
[UK]T. Morton Speed the Plough I i: Dame Grundy’s butter was quite the crack of the market.
[UK] ‘George Barnwell Travesti’ in H. Smith Rejected Addresses 119: Determin’d to be quite the crack o, / He lounged at the Adam and Eve, And call’d for his gin and tobacco.
[UK]Friar and Boy 27: The lad his name was Jack [...] He prov’d so arch a crack, / That scarce was such another.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 194: But tom to Time must bend and yield, / Although was — ‘once the crack’.
[Ire] ‘The Devil In Search Of A Wife’ Dublin Comic Songster 108: He was of Dublin swells the crack.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 16 Apr. n.p.: He has associated with the greatest masters of the art [i.e. prize-fighting] [...] Ward, Byrne, Bendigo and all the cracks.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 3 Dec. n.p.: Her establishment is ther ‘crack’ of the city for boarding ladies amnd their ‘friends’.
[UK]Era (London) 4 June 3/4: The cracks hadn’t come, so they [the general public] set to work chaffing each other.
[UK]C. Kingsley Westward Ho III 286: He sailed with my father Captain Will, when they were both two little cracks aboard of a trawler.
Herald (Glasgow) 5 Apr. n.p.: ‘Report of R.N.Y. Club.’ This vessel, (one of Fyfe’s cracks) being almost new, and coppered, will be free from the objectionable fouling which is so great a drawback to the use of iron yachts [F&H].
[Ire]C.J. Kickham Knocknagow 451: ‘The general opinion was that she was “a nice crack” – whatever that means’. ‘A “crack” is a person who dresses too stylishly. But Bessy’s taste is so exquisite, it is impossible to find fault with her in that respect.’.
[UK]London Life 23 Aug. 7/1: [of racehorses] Hark! the saddling bell is ringing, and the cracks are led out [...] before their admirers and backers.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 325: [of a racehorse] There was a big field, with two or three cracks up from Sydney.
[UK]H. Smart Long Odds I 172: [of a racehorse] ‘Mr Bramton, knowing nothing about racing, would probably feel flattered and grateful to a man like himself for taking the management of his ‘crack’ off his hands.
[UK]Mirror of Life 17 Feb. 7/3: He has definitely decided to go over to the States [...] and race with the American cracks.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘The Man from Snowy River’ Man from Snowy River (1902) 3: So all the cracks had gathered to the fray. / All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 6 July 6/3: ‘I’m not getting any younger, you know, and I’m always being steered up against stronger cracks’.
[NZ]N.Z. Truth 27 Feb. 6/4: Billy Elliott, the New Zealand crack, was first in the ring.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 27 Mar. 2nd sect. 11/1: What start Roberts will concede James has not yet been arranged, but presumably he will engage him on the same conditions as he met the cracks in India recently.
[US]J. London Valley of the Moon (1914) 31: See the red-head with the spikes [...] San Francisco’s set on him winning. He’s their crack, an’ there’s a lot of bets up.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson Shearer’s Colt 63: He was a real crack, but he turned unmanageable at the barrier so they refused his nominations.

(b) a fop, a dandy.

[UK]N. Ward ‘The Cock-Pit Combat’ Writings (1704) 135: From Cobler and Crack, to the Knight and the Noble, / By Stanch Politicians, the matter was Stated.

(c) a jolly, high-spirited party.

[UK] (ref. to 18C) J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 96/1: Crack (Jovial, 18 cent.). A roystering meeting, derived from ‘cracking’ and finishing a bottle of wine.
[Scot]I. Welsh Filth 177: We’re having a crack here, a drink.

(d) the current fashion; the fashionable world, the social and sporting élite.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: The Crack, or All the Crack. The fashionable theme, the Go.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn) n.p.:
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports [as cit. 1788] .

4. a heavy blow, e.g. a crack over the head.

[UK] ‘John Gamble’ in Wardroper (1969) 90: When I would gently touch thy lip / Thou smackst a crack like coachman’s whip.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Mar. XXIII 352/1: So, damn it, Jack hit him a crack. / Well said, my boy, that was a plumper.
[UK]Dickens Oliver Twist (1966) 212: Say another word, and I’ll do your business myself with a crack on the head.
[UK]W.T. Moncrieff Scamps of London I i: Confound the fellow, what a crack he’s given me.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 13 Feb. 2/3: The sprig popped his left and right to change the pleasing contour, by a knock-down crack.
[UK]F. Smedley Harry Coverdale’s Courtship 11: You hit him an awful crack!
[US]Life in Boston & N.Y. (Boston, MA) 11 Oct. n.p.: I would give you a crack on your old Dutch face.
[UK]J. Greenwood Little Ragamuffin 259: Jiggered if I don’t think that crack on the head croaked him.
[US]G. Devol Forty Years a Gambler 84: I got one solid crack at him between the eyes.
[US]Ade Artie (1963) 30: You kind o’ feel there’s a crack comin’ to him.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 1 Dec. 130: I was only too glad of the chance to have a crack at the skunk, and I got in a fine one.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 21 Jan. 1/1: A civil servant cyclist who lost his bike broke out with bundles of bluff [...] he has threatened to present the outfit and a ‘crack’ to the person who commandeered it.
[UK]J. Masefield Everlasting Mercy 39: Back, stand back, / Or else I’ll fetch your skulls a crack.
[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 20 July 14/2: They Say [...] That Sowtie. the orphan, is looking for a crack, and he is going the right way to get it.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 718: I gave her 2 damn fine cracks across the ear for herself take that now for answering me like that.
[US]H. Miller Tropic of Cancer (1963) 302: He gave her such a crack that she almost fell off her seat.
[US]R. Chandler Farewell, My Lovely (1949) 69: I think you’re still woozy from that crack on the head.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Sat. Night and Sun. Morning 80: The man who had seemed so meek hit the singer, dealing him a violent crack on the lower half of his face.
[UK]P. Willmott Adolescent Boys of East London (1969) 165: He gave him a crack across the face. He practically killed him.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Start in Life (1979) 85: I went a bit potty, and in spite of his cracks [...] I split his eyes and lips.
[UK]J. McClure Spike Island (1981) 424: Thy don’t get any caring discipline — they might get a crack off their father, but it just means he’s irritated, nothing to do with them.
[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 51: I give him another crack, harder than what I should’ve in fairness.

5. in senses of a single instance.

(a) an instant, a very brief moment; usu. as in a crack

implied in in a crack
[UK] ‘I Dreamt Last Night As I Lay On My Bed’ Rambler’s Flash Songster 37: He jumped into bed, and in less than a crack, / The job it was done and all over.
[UK] ‘Don Giovanni or, The Man Vot Claps ’Em On The Peg’ Gentleman’s Spicey Songster 29: But he very soon learnt her to cock up her leg, / And in less than a crack, she was clap’d on the peg.
[UK] ‘Wakefield Gaol’ in R. Palmer Touch of the Times 252: I’d bone the tout in half a crack.
[UK]Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday 7 June 47/1: But with scorn we fling them [i.e. gifts] back, / Fling them back in half a crack.
[UK]W.S. Gilbert ‘The Bishop of Rum-Ti-Foo’ Fifty ‘Bab’ Ballads 57: ‘Right Reverend Sir, in half a crack!’ / Replied that dancing man.
[Aus]Truth (Brisbane) 12 Apr. 9/3: They’ll run a man to Tophet / In about a half a crack.
[NZ]Truth Perth) 9 Apr. 8/8: Coodn’t knock it off at onct, nor / Mend her ways in half a crack.
[US](con. 1916) G. Swarthout Tin Lizzie Troop (1978) 98: What he’d do first crack in the morning was, put on a sorrowful phiz.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 263/1: from ca. 1720.

(b) an opportunity, a try, a chance.

implied in have a crack at
[US]J. O’Connor Wanderings of a Vagabond 383: ‘Well, I think I’ll take a crack for Jacob, anyhow,’ said Ashby.
[US]E. Townsend Chimmie Fadden Explains 42: De first crack his Whiskers makes to get down a present he near knocks over de dinky tree.
[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 144: I’ll just give the Prof a crack at my bean. He’ll be surprised to find so much brains under one dome.
[US]Day Book (Chicago) 25 Jan. 17/2: I wish you would put me down for those two seats old Mrs W. has [...] so I will have first crack at them in case anything happens to her.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘A Holy War’ in Chisholm (1951) 78: ‘’Old on,’ I sez. ‘Just let me think for one / Brief ’arf-a-mo. I’d love a crack or two / At this flash gun.’.
[US]D. Hammett ‘The First Thin Man’ in Nightmare Town (2001) 351: We might as well go in and get hold of Boyer and Ray and get it over with at one crack.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Poison Payoff’ Hollywood Detective Dec. 🌐 She’d even answered the door herself, to get first crack at any caller.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 158: Graduates from City College get first crack at the jobs around here.
[UK]W. Hall Long and the Short and the Tall Act I: Very nice. I wouldn’t mind a crack at her myself.
[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 17: I felt like having a second crack.
[US]D. Goines Swamp Man 176: That boy wants a crack at us just as bad as we want one at him.
[UK]P. Redmond Tucker and Co 63: Don’t want to blow it, do you? We’ll probably only get one crack at it.
[Aus]G. Disher Paydirt [ebook] ‘I want another crack at the payroll’.
[US]C. Fleming High Concept 158: They were to be offered first crack at the sequel.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 20 Aug. 11: The Puffy marketing brain can’t resist another crack at crossover paydirt.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skinny Dip 202: ‘How long have you been a bodyguard?’ ‘This here’s my first crack at it.’.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper 4 41: You [...] come out with the drinks every few hours and get first crack at the lunch.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] It’s not like he didn’t have a crack, but she chose me.
[Aus]C. Hammer Opal Country 80: ‘They can go to heaven or they can go to hell, but we get first crack’.

(c) (US) a go, a time, an instance.

[US]C. White Magic Penny in Darkey Drama 5 Act I: One shillin’ a crack.
[US]J.F. Lillard Poker Stories 59: I’ve seen them betting a bale of cotton at a crack.
[UK]Sporting Times 11 Mar. 2/3: The extortionate old harridan pulled out a bottle of very potent juniper, and under the spell of the third or fourth crack at it, Anita’s tongue loosened.
[US]Mencken letter Dec. in Bode New Mencken Letters (1977) 79: A very good sale. I think your review sold at least 150 of them at one crack.
[UK]L. Thomas Woodfill of the Regulars 76: Bean sandwiches, which he proceeded to sell at a dollar a crack.
[US]Kerouac letter 13 Sept. in Charters I (1995) 129: Sleeping 20 hours at a crack in a big creaking bed.
[US]L. Uris Battle Cry (1964) 293: Banks [...] had been butchering our hair for over a year — at two bits a crack.
[US]H.S. Thompson letter 19 Oct. Proud Highway (1997) 356: They recently raised me to £175 a crack.
[Can]R. Caron Go-Boy! 37: There was one guy [...] who owned a contraband library of pornographic books; he made a killing loaning them out at three bales [of tobacco] a crack.
[US]S. King Dolores Claiborne 285: The rich fella who used to give away a million bucks at a crack on that old TV show.

In phrases

get a crack at (v.)

(US) to have a try at, to get a chance to do something.

[US]Ade Artie (1963) 30: One o’ them fellows that you want to get a crack at the minute you see him.
[US]N.Y. Globe 27 Apr. in Fleming Unforgettable Season (1981) 54: [They] are not waiting to get a crack at the Giants.
[US]R. Lardner You Know Me Al (1984) 193: I says I would like to get an other crack at them.
[US]Van Loan ‘Sporting Doctor’ Taking the Count 32: Billy wants to get another crack at Frankie Brady.
[US]Mad mag. Oct.–Nov. 48: But getting a crack at the champ is still a long way off.
[US]J. Wambaugh Choirboys (1976) 198: I’ve been trying for thirteen months to get a crack at vice.
[US]R. Campbell In La-La Land We Trust (1999) 91: The assistant district attorney’s the top dog, but everybody’s getting a crack at him.
Desdemona at 🌐 By the time the bids took place, every man was chomping at the bit to get a crack at Cherry.
have a crack at (v.)

(orig. US) to attempt, to have a try, to have a go.

[US]J.F. Cooper Pilot (1824) II 81: I’ll have a crack at some marine in very revenge.
[US]R.M. Bird Nick of the Woods II 96: Jist let’s have another crack at the villains.
[US] ‘Pike’s Peak’ Fred Shaw’s Champion Comic Melodist 10: So I at once resolved to go [...] Bound at the gold to have a crack, / Out in Pike’s Peak diggings.
[US]N.Y. Tribune 11 Sept. 7/3: I’ll try a crack at it for luck!
[US]C. McKay Home to Harlem 4: Jake thought he would like to have a crack at the Germans.
[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 176: When Tim told him that no-one on earth could ride the old myall horse Misanthropy but himself, he asked if he might have a crack at it.
Press (Canterbury) 2 Apr. 18: ‘Have a crack at’ is still slang.
[Aus]K. Tennant Foveaux 136: Look ’ow mosquitoes get inoored to the idea that if they land on a bloke, ’e’s goin’ to have a crack at them.
[UK]D. Bolster Roll On My Twelve 81: Let’s ’ave a crack at it, Dick.
[Aus]D. Stivens Courtship of Uncle Henry 48: I shouldn’t have told you to have a crack at me.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 230: He’d be worth having a crack at.
[Aus](con. 1944) L. Glassop Rats in New Guinea 108: I want permission to go out alone and have a crack at the Japs.
[UK]Guardian Guide 10–16 July 95: Rob Lowe cozens his way into Oxford University to have a crack at aristocratic dream girl Amanda Pays.
[UK]L. Theroux Call of the Weird (2006) 23: I could at least have a crack at Bob.
[US]W. Ellis Crooked Little Vein 31: A yellow cab swerved over [...] and had a good crack at harvesting the door ninja off his left fender.
[UK]Independent 5 Oct. 7/1: To no avail did Republicans searching for another new messiah [...] beg him to have a crack.
[US]D. Winslow ‘Broken’ in Broken 36: ‘Let me have a crack at him’.
in a crack

very soon, in a moment.

[Scot]A. Ramsay Gentle Shepherd I i: I trow, when that she saw, with in a Crack, / She came with a right thieveless Errand back .
[Ire]K. O’Hara Tom Thumb I iv: I’ll be there and here, in a crack.
[UK]Foote The Minor 56: A bonny auctioneer, that shall dispose of ’em all in a crack.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 280: Mean time, great hector, in a crack, / Get mounted on a raw bon’d hack.
[Ire] ‘Hush Cat from under the Table’ Irish Songster 4: Hush cat come out in a crack, / Hush cat from under the table.
[UK]R. Cumberland Jew V i: When Lawyer Dash has pen and ink at hand, and a will under his thumb, he’ll dash you in or dash you out in a crack.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Sept. XVI 284/2: I’ll do it in a crack.
[UK]Byron Don Juan canto I line 1094: They’re on the stair just now, and in a crack Will all be here.
[UK]W. Combe Doctor Syntax, Consolation (1868) 148/1: The Echo will declare the same. / Say good or bad, why in a crack / The ready voice will give it back.
[Aus]Currency Lad (Sydney) 3 Nov. 4/2: Well, off he flies [...] and clinches a place in a crack.
[UK] ‘The Randy Young Maid’ Knowing Chaunter 33: He jump’d into bed in a crack.
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 126: I’ll get a hack, be off in a crack.
[Ind]Delhi Sketch Bk 1 May 49/2: Don’t be slack, / Jump on my back, / And we’ll be at the Rajah’s Court in a crack!
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK] ‘Margaret Slack & the Prince of Wales’ in Henderson Victorian Street Ballads (1937) 156: The truth of the story you shall know in a crack.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[Scot] ‘Poor Little Joe’ Laughing Songster 31: I’ll be off in a crack.
take a crack at (v.)

1. to attack physically, to shoot.

[US]Ade Artie (1963) 74: It’s made ’em so swelled up that you want to take a crack at one of ’em the minute you see him.
[US]R. Lardner You Know Me Al (1984) 110: So I walked away from him without taking a crack at him.
[US]W. Edge Main Stem 17: There were a lot of soldiers guarding the railroad tunnels and bridges, prepared to take a crack at any ’bo seen on the trains.
[US]W.M. Raine Cool Customer 125: Meaning he was the same man took a crack at you?
[US]E.F. Frazier Negro Youth 216: ‘I’ve just itched to take a crack at a white guy just to see if he can take it like he can dish it’.
[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 184: One dollar each and three for two / To take a crack at my ring-a-rang-roo.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 217: General MacArthur went up the mast, and the Japs took a crack at his naked ass.

2. to make an attempt, to have a go.

[US]Sun (Jacksonville, FL) 18 Nov. 9/1: I hope you will not think it necessary to ‘take a crack at creation’.
[US]F. Packard White Moll 234: Lemme take another crack at it, Pinkie.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Dancing Dan’s Christmas’ Runyon on Broadway (1954) 258: He says he will take a crack at it with us.
[US]W.P. McGivern ‘Manchu Terror’ in Goodstone Pulps (1970) 26/1: That doesn’t sound like such a tough job [...] I’ll take a crack at it.
[US]H. Miller Sexus (1969) 93: Do you think I might take another crack at it?
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 97: I was still itching to take my crack at the fast track.
[US]E.H. Hunt Undercover 190: Why don’t you take a crack at cutting down the San Diego costs?
[US]L. Berney Whiplash River [ebook] DEA hadn’t wanted to let her take a crack at him, but Cory talked them into it.