What Does Crack a Joke Mean?

Crack a Joke Meaning

Definition: To say something humorous.

Origin of Crack a Joke

This exact origin of this expression is unclear. The word crack itself comes from before the year 1000. It initially meant to resound. Joke comes from the 1600s and derives from the Latin word for jest.

One of the definitions of crack is to say, boast, or utter something. However, this usage is no longer common outside of this idiom. A similar expression is to make a crack about someone or something, which means to make a joke about a person or thing.

Another term that uses crack is wisecrack, which comes from the 1900s. This means to make a witty remark.

Examples of Crack a Joke

cracking jokesThis example shows two coworkers who are discussing a lost pet.

Regina: I’m upset!

Ginny: Why? What happened?

Regina: Well, as you know, I just recently built a backyard chicken coop. I just got my first chickens yesterday, and one of them already escaped!

Ginny: Maybe a fox ate it.

Reggie: No, I know it escaped because I saw it run across the road.

Ginny: Haha, it’s like that famous joke, “Why did the chicken cross the road? It wanted to get to the other side!”

Reggie: Ginny, this is serious! This is no time to crack jokes! I’ve lost an animal that depended on me. Try to be more supportive.

crack some jokesIn this example, two friends are talking about a mistake that one of them made.

Kevin: My brother is really mad at me.

Steve: Why?

Kevin: He just had eye surgery, so he can’t see anything for a few days. I went over to visit him and make him some dinner, and he seemed a little depressed. I was just trying to be friendly, so I asked him, “What’s the matter? Aren’t you glad to see me?” I just wondered if he was glad I came over.

Steve: Oh, I get it. He thought that you were cracking a joke about his temporary blindness.

Kevin: Yes. He said I was insensitive. I didn’t even realize what I said until after I said it.

More Examples

This excerpt is about a boxer who hopes to be a part of the Olympics.

  • She’s serious about boxing, but likes to crack a joke and a smile. –Denver Post

This excerpt is from an article about a man with cancer who keeps his sense of humor.

  • “He took everything we threw at him and still managed to crack a joke or two,” Vaporciyan tweeted. –Houston Chronicle

Summary

The phrase to crack a joke is to say something to try to be funny.