Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cracker n.4

[SE cracker, a biscuit; Baker, Australian Language (1945), adds cracker, a £1 note, and this has been taken up by the OED, and in Pulliam, I Travelled the Lonely Land (1955), but Wilkes, A Dict. of Australian Colloquialisms (1985), rejects it: ‘No evidence has been found ...’]

1. (UK prison) a small loaf served to prisoners as their daily rations.

[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.

2. (Aus./N.Z.) the smallest feasible amount of money.

[Aus]‘A. Pendragon’ Queen of the South 118: ‘Got no silk handkerchiefs?’ [...] ‘Sold ’em all for crackers to bullock-drivers. New chums wipe their noses on anythink – mostly on “cotton bundles”.’.
[Aus]Williamstown Chron. (Vic.) 15 Apr. 2/3: No ‘splondlui’ [sic] to slip out to the racecourse; not even a ‘cracker’ for an interest.
[Aus]L. Glassop We Were the Rats 83: I walked into a country hotel in Queensland without a cracker, but with my fur coat and black homberg on.
[Aus]J. Cleary Sundowners 79: Coming up here, starting out from scratch without a cracker, nothing but their hands [...] and a lot of hope.
[Aus]J. Morrison Black Cargo 93: He hardly took a cracker home for a month. Told his missus he’d broke a winch and had to pay for it.
[Aus]Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxvii 7/1: You’ve run out of money in the pub and you haven’t got a cracker in the bank. Do you [...] try to snip someone?
[Aus]J. Wynnum I’m a Jack, All Right 16: ‘It’s like you say, Thumper. I haven’t a cracker’ [...] ‘Well, all expenses would be paid’.
[Aus]W. Ammon et al. Working Lives 107: Fred managed to borrow five pounds from Dido and ten pounds from Big Waxie without making known his intentions. If he had they wouldn’t have loaned him a cracker.

3. (US black) a very light-coloured black person [biscuit-coloured, or ref. to their similarity to a cracker n.3 (4)].

[US]A. Lomax Mister Jelly Roll (1952) 31: She threw back her head and laughed a liquid, joy-swollen laugh that swept Colas and myself – a couple of inhibited crackers – along with it.
[US]B. Malamud Tenants (1972) 82: Show-off cracker. Ofay spy.

4. (US) $1.

[US]T.T. Flynn ‘The Deadly Orchid’ in Goodstone Pulps (1970) 105/1: When I pay sixty-seven crackers for a cardboard box [...] I want to see what I’m stung with.

5. (Aus./N.Z.) fig. ext. of sense 2, anything worthless, valueless; thus not have a cracker, to be penniless.

[Aus]A. Marshall These Are My People (1957) 144: I was broke — didn’t have a cracker.
[NZ]N. Hilliard Maori Girl 240: I’ve got nothing, Harry: not a cracker.
[NZ]B. Crump Hang On a Minute, Mate (1963) 18: I ran out of gas [...] Ten o’clock at night, and we never had a cracker.
[Aus]C. Bowles G’DAY 76: I'm right in the noo-er when the missus fines out. Ain’t got a cracker for the resta the week.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 31/2: not to have a cracker without funds; c. 1920. – not worth a cracker of virtually no value; c.1920.
[Aus]R.G. Barratt ‘Kill Two Birds’ in What Do You Reckon (1997) [ebook] What’s the miserable bastard getting out of this? The answer is: nothing. Zilch. Not a cracker.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].

SE in slang uses

In compounds

cracker-ass (n.) [-ass sfx]

(US) a skinny person; also as adj.

H. Maule Rub-A-Dub 65: Some cracker-ass ordinary [...] [and] a fat-ass, first assistant [HDAS].
[US]Current Sl. V:1 5: Crackerass, n. A slender or skinny person.
[US](con. 1967) R. Eilert For Self and Country 58: Don’t be a cracker ass.
crackerbox (n.) [puns on fragility and size of a SAmE crackerbox]

1. (US Und.) a safe that can be broken into easily [note box n.1 (2d)].

[US]D. Clemmer Prison Community (1940) 331/1: cracker box, n. An easily blown safe.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 51/2: Cracker box. [...] 2. A safe or strongbox easily cracked by any safe-cracker.
[US]E. Little Another Day in Paradise 33: This ganef has an old Mosler safe for cash receipts. A fuckin’ cracker box.

2. a small room, e.g. a nightclub, a small house.

[US]H. Green Mr. Jackson 176: A judge dispensed al fresco justice from the undiginfied eminence of a cracker box.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 51/2: Cracker box. 1. A small county jail from which escape is easy.
[US]K. Vonnegut ‘Any Reasonable Offer’ in Bagombo Snuff Box (1999) 34: Mr. Delahanty sold that awful little cracker-box of his in one day.
[US]P. Crump Burn, Killer, Burn! 289: Do you want people in this cracker box to think we’re murdering someone up here?
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 63: My woman got enough scratch between her titties buy this cracker box.

3. a second-rate hotel.

[US]‘Curt Cannon’ ‘The Death of Me’ in I Like ’Em Tough (1958) 119: I went to the Hotel Green, the West Forty-seventh Street crackerbox that held Buck Grafton.

4. (US) orig. of Army vehicles, a small car.

[UK]Liverpool Echo 5 Apr. 2/4: Mechanisation has brought in such words as ‘cracker box’ for any Army motor vehicle.
[US]L. Dills CB Slanguage.