c.1460, crouken, onomatopoeic or related to O.E. cracian (see crack). Slang meaning "to die" is first recorded 1812, from sound of death rattle. Croaker "prophet of evil" (1637) is from the raven (cf. M.E. crake "a raven," c.1320, from O.N. kraka "crow," of imitative origin).