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a hostile or fanatical letter, often sent anonymously.
Also, crank call. An irrational, fanatical, or hostile letter or telephone call. For example, The office was flooded with mail, including a lot of crank letters, or Harriet was upset enough by the crank calls to notify the police. This expression employs crank in the sense of “irrational person.” The first term dates from the mid-1900s, the variant from the 1960s.


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  • Crankly

    [krangk] /kræŋk/ adjective, British Dialect. 1. lively; high-spirited. /kræŋk/ noun 1. 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 2. Also called crank handle, starting handle. […]

  • Cranko

    /ˈkræŋkəʊ/ noun 1. John. 1927–73, British choreographer, born in South Africa: director of the Stuttgart Ballet (1961–73)

  • Crank on someone

    verb phrase To vent one’s anger on; hassle: She must have needed someone to crank on, and I was elected (1980s+)

  • Crankpin

    [krangk-pin] /ˈkræŋkˌpɪn/ noun, Machinery. 1. a short cylindrical at the outer end of a , held by and moving with a connecting rod or link. /ˈkræŋkˌpɪn/ noun 1. a short cylindrical bearing surface fitted between two arms of a crank and set parallel to the main shaft of the crankshaft

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