Machinery. any of several types of arms or levers for imparting rotary or oscillatory motion to a rotating shaft, one end of the crank being fixed to the shaft and the other end receiving reciprocating motion from a hand, connecting rod, etc.
Informal. an ill-tempered, grouchy person.
an unbalanced person who is overzealous in the advocacy of a private cause.
an eccentric or whimsical notion.
a strikingly clever turn of speech or play on words.
Archaic. a bend; turn.
Slang. the nasal decongestant propylhexedrine, used illicitly for its euphoric effects.
to increase (loudness, output, etc) he cranked up his pace
to set in motion or invigorate news editors have to crank up tired reporters
(intransitive, adverb) to inject a narcotic drug
a device for communicating motion or for converting reciprocating motion into rotary motion or vice versa. It consists of an arm projecting from a shaft, often with a second member attached to it parallel to the shaft
Also called crank handle, starting handle. a handle incorporating a crank, used to start an engine or motor
an eccentric or odd person, esp someone who stubbornly maintains unusual views
(US & Canadian) a bad-tempered person
(transitive) to rotate (a shaft) by means of a crank
(transitive) to start (an engine, motor, etc) by means of a crank handle
(transitive) to bend, twist, or make into the shape of a crank
O.E. cranc- preserved only in crancstæf "a weaver's instrument," from P.Gmc. base *krank-, and related to crincan "to bend, yield." Eng. retains the literal sense of the ancient root, while Ger. and Du. krank "sick," formerly "weak, small," is a figurative use. The sense of "an eccentric person," especially one who is irrationally fixated, is first recorded 1833, said to be from the crank of a barrel organ, which makes it play the same tune over and over, but more likely a back-formation from cranky "cross-tempered, irritable" (1821), and evolving from earlier senses of "a twist or fanciful turn of speech" (1594) or "inaccessible hole or crevice" (1562). Popularized 1881 when it was applied to Horace Greeley during Guiteau's trial. The verb meaning "turning a crank" is first attested 1908, with reference to automobile engines.
Pertaining to methamphetamine: It's connected to a crank factory, and the case goes to New Jersey, so the FBI is all over it
An eccentric person, esp one who is irrationally fixated; nut, freak: That crank wants a yogurt shampoo/ All kinds of cranks took credit for the murder(1881+)
A crabby person
Methamphetamine, a stimulant; speed: Ain't no calories in crank(1960s+ Narcotics)
[perhaps fr the crank of a barrel organ, by which one can play the same tune over and over again; applied by Donn Piatt to the publisher Horace Greeley]
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D. Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers. Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with crank up
Get started, as in The theater season is cranking up with four benefit performances. This expression transfers the literal sense of crank, “operate a motor by turning a crank,” to starting any activity.
[ ; 1930s
Stimulate or intensify one's efforts. For example, We've got to crank up enthusiasm for this new product, or Close to the election the campaign really cranked up.
[ ; mid-1900s