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"split, opening," 14c., from crack (v.). Meaning "try, attempt" first attested 1836, probably a hunting metaphor, from slang sense of "fire a gun." Meaning "rock cocaine" is first attested 1985. The superstition that it is bad luck to step on sidewalk cracks has been traced to c.1890. Adjectival meaning in "top-notch, superior" is slang from 1793 (e.g. a crack shot).
The process of breaking down complex chemical compounds by heating them. Sometimes a catalyst is added to lower the amount of heat needed for the reaction. Cracking is used especially for breaking petroleum molecules into shorter molecules and to extract low-boiling fractions, such as gasoline, from petroleum. See also hydrocracking.
Excellent; first-rate: a cracking mealadverb
Very: a cracking good mealnoun
: Ragging, bagging, snapping, and cracking, these are all word games teens use as a way of competing with one another (1990s+ Teenagers) (1830+)Related Terms
[all senses are ultimately echoic; narcotics sense fr the sound of breaking crystals or the cracking sound the crystals make when smoked]