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[krangk] /kræŋk/

adjective, British Dialect.
lively; high-spirited.
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

(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
(intransitive) (obsolete) to twist or wind
(of a sailing vessel) easily keeled over by the wind; tender

Old English *cranc, implied in crancstæf “a weaver’s instrument,” crencestre “female weaver, spinster,” from Proto-Germanic base *krank-, and related to crincan “to bend, yield” (see crinkle, cringe). English retains the literal sense of the ancient root, while German and Dutch 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 (q.v.). Meaning “methamphetamine” attested by 1989.

1590s, “to zig-zag,” from crank (n.). Meaning “to turn a crank” is first attested 1908, with reference to automobile engines. Related: Cranked; cranking.



[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]


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  • 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

  • Crankshaft

    [krangk-shaft, -shahft] /ˈkræŋkˌʃæft, -ˌʃɑft/ noun, Machinery. 1. a having one or more , usually formed as integral parts. /ˈkræŋkˌʃɑːft/ noun 1. a shaft having one or more cranks, esp the main shaft of an internal-combustion engine to which the connecting rods are attached n. 1854, from crank (v.) + shaft (n.). The basic form of […]

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