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[krak-er] /ˈkræk ər/
a thin, crisp biscuit.
Also called cracker bonbon. a small paper roll used as a party favor, that usually contains candy, trinkets, etc., and that pops when pulled sharply at one or both ends.
(initial capital letter) Slang: Sometimes Disparaging and Offensive. a native or inhabitant of Georgia or Florida (used as a nickname).
Slang: Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a white person in the South, especially a poor white living in some rural parts of the southeastern U.S.
snapper (def 5).
braggart; boaster.
a person or thing that cracks.
a chemical reactor used for cracking.
crackers, Informal. wild; crazy:
They went crackers over the new styles.
Origin of cracker
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English craker. See crack, -er1; (defs 4-5) perhaps orig. in sense “braggart,” applied to frontiersmen of the southern American colonies in the 1760s, though subsequently given other interpretations (cf. corn-cracker); for crackers crazy, cf. cracked, -ers
Usage note
The term cracker is used as a neutral nickname by inhabitants of Georgia and Florida; it is a positive term of self-reference. But when the nickname is used by outsiders, it is usually with disparaging intent and perceived as insulting by Georgians and Floridians. Cracker is always disparaging and offensive when used to refer to a poor white person in the South; the word in this sense often implies that the person is regarded as ignorant or uneducated. When used by black people, cracker can refer to a Southern white racist, not necessarily poor or rural. See also Cracker State. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for crackers
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • All kinds of crackers and colorful dips can be used, from celery stalks and potato chips to thin paddles cut from Bombay duck.

    The Complete Book of Cheese Robert Carlton Brown
  • Sunny followed them with the molasses and a handful of crackers.

  • Cook for forty-five minutes and add six crackers pounded fine.

  • He produced a package of crackers; next a can of coffee, next some sugar.

    The Web of the Golden Spider Frederick Orin Bartlett
  • They had a pot along in which they made coffee, and they also brought out some bread and crackers, cake, and some fruit.

    The Rover Boys on the Farm Arthur M. Winfield (AKA Edward Stratemeyer)
British Dictionary definitions for crackers


(postpositive) (Brit) a slang word for insane


a decorated cardboard tube that emits a bang when pulled apart, releasing a toy, a joke, or a paper hat
short for firecracker
a thin crisp biscuit, usually unsweetened
a person or thing that cracks
(US) another word for (offensive) poor White
(Brit, slang) a thing or person of notable qualities or abilities
(Austral & NZ, informal) not worth a cracker, worthless; useless
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for crackers's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Word Origin and History for crackers



mid-15c., "hard wafer," but the specific application to a thin, crisp biscuit is 1739; agent noun from crack (v.). Cracker-barrel (adj.) "emblematic of down-home ways and views" is from 1877.

Southern U.S. derogatory term for "poor, white trash" (1766), probably from mid-15c. crack "to boast" (e.g. not what it's cracked up to be), originally a Scottish word. Cf. Latin crepare "to rattle, crack, creak," with a secondary figurative sense of "boast of, prattle, make ado about."

I should explain to your Lordship what is meant by crackers; a name they have got from being great boasters; they are a lawless set of rascalls on the frontiers of Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas and Georgia, who often change their places of abode. [1766, G. Cochrane]
But DARE compares corn-cracker "poor white farmer" (1835, U.S. Midwest colloquial). Especially of Georgians by 1808, though often extended to residents of northern Florida. Another name in mid-19c. use was sand-hiller "poor white in Georgia or South Carolina."
Not very essentially different is the condition of a class of people living in the pine-barrens nearest the coast [of South Carolina], as described to me by a rice-planter. They seldom have any meat, he said, except they steal hogs, which belong to the planters, or their negroes, and their chief diet is rice and milk. "They are small, gaunt, and cadaverous, and their skin is just the color of the sand-hills they live on. They are quite incapable of applying themselves steadily to any labor, and their habits are very much like those of the old Indians." [Frederick Law Olmsted, "A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States," 1856]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for crackers



Crazy; cracked •Chiefly British use: Also he was plain crackers

[1928+; formed with the British suffix -ers, like bonkers, preggers, etc]



A Southern rustic or poor white; more particularly, a Georgian; redneck

Related Terms

jawbreaker, safecracker

[1766+; The dated sense refers to ''a lawless set of rascals on the frontiers of Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas, and Georgia'' who were great crackers, ''boasters''; these would be nearly the original frontier ''tall talkers'' of the Davy Crockett ilk]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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