crackhead (n.) Look up crackhead at Dictionary.com
slang, "crack cocaine addict," by 1986, from crack (n.) in the drug slang sense + head (n.). In earlier slang, crack-headed meant "crazy" (1796), from the literal sense of crack.
cracking (adj.) Look up cracking at Dictionary.com
"excellent," colloquial from 1830s, from present participle of crack (v.).
crackle (v.) Look up crackle at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., crackelen, frequentative of cracken "to crack" (see crack (v.)). Related: Crackled; crackling. The noun is recorded from 1833.
crackpot (n.) Look up crackpot at Dictionary.com
"mentally unbalanced person," 1898, probably from crack (v.) + pot (n.1) in a slang sense of "head." Compare crack-brain "crazy fellow" (late 16c.). Earlier it was used in a slang sense "a small-time big-shot" (1883), and by medical doctors in reference to a "metallic chinking sometimes heard when percussion is made over a cavity which communicates with a bronchus."
cradle (n.) Look up cradle at Dictionary.com
"baby's bed," c. 1200, cradel, from Old English cradol "little bed, cot," from Proto-Germanic *kradulaz "basket" (source also of Old High German kratto, krezzo "basket," German Krätze "basket carried on the back"). From late 14c. as "device for holding or hoisting." Cat's cradle is so called from 1768. Cradle-snatching "amorous pursuit of younger person" is from 1906.
"It's like cradle-snatching to want to marry a girl of sixteen, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself, for you can't be much more than twenty one yourself." ["Edith Van Dyne" (L. Frank Baum), "Aunt Jane's Nieces Abroad," 1906]
cradle (v.) Look up cradle at Dictionary.com
c. 1500, from cradle (n.). Related: Cradled; cradling.
craft (n.) Look up craft at Dictionary.com
Old English cræft (West Saxon, Northumbrian), -creft (Kentish), originally "power, physical strength, might," from Proto-Germanic *krab-/*kraf- (source also of Old Frisian kreft, Old High German chraft, German Kraft "strength, skill;" Old Norse kraptr "strength, virtue"). Sense expanded in Old English to include "skill, dexterity; art, science, talent" (via a notion of "mental power"), which led by late Old English to the meaning "trade, handicraft, calling," also "something built or made." The word still was used for "might, power" in Middle English.

Use for "small boat" is first recorded 1670s, probably from a phrase similar to vessels of small craft and referring either to the trade they did or the seamanship they required, or perhaps it preserves the word in its original sense of "power."
craft (v.) Look up craft at Dictionary.com
Old English cræftan "to exercise a craft, build," from the same source as craft (n.). Meaning "to make skilfully" is from early 15c., obsolete from 16c., but revived c. 1950s, largely in U.S. advertising and commercial senses. Related: Crafted; crafting.
craftsman (n.) Look up craftsman at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., craftes man, originally "a member of a craft guild," from genitive of craft (n.) + man (n.1). Written as one word from late 14c. Old English had cræftiga in this sense. Related: Craftsmanship.
crafty (adj.) Look up crafty at Dictionary.com
mid-12c., crafti, from Old English cræftig "strong, powerful," later "skillful, ingenious," degenerating by c. 1200 to "cunning, sly" (but through 15c. also "skillfully done or made; intelligent, learned; artful, scientific") from craft (n.) + -y (2). Related: Craftily; craftiness.
crag (n.) Look up crag at Dictionary.com
early 14c.; as a place-name element attested from c. 1200, probably from a Celtic source akin to Old Irish crec "rock," and carrac "cliff," Welsh craig "rock, stone," Manx creg, Breton krag.
craggy (adj.) Look up craggy at Dictionary.com
mid-15c.; see crag + -y (2). Related: Cragginess.
cram (v.) Look up cram at Dictionary.com
Old English crammian "press something into something else," from Proto-Germanic *kram-/*krem- (source also of Old High German krimman "to press, pinch," Old Norse kremja "to squeeze, pinch"), from PIE root *ger- "to gather together, assemble" (see gregarious). Meaning "study intensely for an exam" originally was British student slang first recorded 1803. Related: Crammed; cramming.
cramp (n.1) Look up cramp at Dictionary.com
"muscle contraction," late 14c., from Old French crampe, from a Frankish or other Germanic word (compare Old High German krapmhe "cramp, spasm," related to kramph "bent, crooked"), from a Proto-Germanic root forming many words for "bent, crooked," including, via French, crampon. Writer's cramp is first attested 1842 as the name of a physical affliction of the hand, in reference to translations of German medical papers (Stromeyer); also known as scrivener's palsy.
cramp (v.1) Look up cramp at Dictionary.com
"to contract" (of muscles), early 15c., from cramp (n.1). Related: Cramped; cramping.
cramp (v.2) Look up cramp at Dictionary.com
"to bend or twist," early 14c., from cramp (n.2) and Old French crampir. Later "compress forcibly" (1550s), and, figuratively, "to restrict" (1620s). Related: Cramped; cramping.
cramp (n.2) Look up cramp at Dictionary.com
"metal bar bent at both ends," early 15c., from Middle Dutch crampe or Middle Low German krampe, both from the same Proto-Germanic root that yielded cramp (n.1). Metaphoric sense of "something that confines or hinders" first recorded 1719.
crampon (n.) Look up crampon at Dictionary.com
"metal bar bent at the ends for fastening," c. 1300, from Old French crampoun, from Germanic (see cramp (n.1); also compare cramp (n.2)).
cranberry (n.) Look up cranberry at Dictionary.com
1640s, American English adaptation of Low German kraanbere, from kraan "crane" (see crane (n.)) + Middle Low German bere "berry" (see berry). Perhaps so called from a resemblance between the plants' stamens and the beaks of cranes.
Upon the Rocks and in the Moss, grew a Shrub whose fruit was very sweet, full of red juice like Currans, perhaps 'tis the same with the New England Cranberry, or Bear-Berry, (call'd so from the Bears devouring it very greedily;) with which we make Tarts. ["An Account of Several Late Voyages & Discoveries," London, 1694]
German and Dutch settlers in the New World apparently recognized the similarity between the European berries (Vaccinium oxycoccos) and the larger North American variety (V. macrocarpum) and transferred the name. In England, they were marshwort or fenberries, but the North American berries, and the name, were brought over late 17c. The native Algonquian name for the plant is represented by West Abenaki popokwa.
crane (v.) Look up crane at Dictionary.com
"to stretch (the neck)," 1799, from crane (n.). Related: Craned; craning.
crane (n.) Look up crane at Dictionary.com
Old English cran "large wading bird," common Germanic (cognates: Old Saxon krano, Old High German krano, German Kranich, and, with unexplained change of consonant, Old Norse trani), from PIE *gere-no-, suffixed form of root *gere- (2) "to cry hoarsely," also the name of the crane (cognates: Greek geranos, Latin grus, Welsh garan, Lithuanian garnys "heron, stork"). Thus the name is perhaps an echo of its cry in ancient ears. Metaphoric use for "machine with a long arm" is first attested late 13c. (a sense also in equivalent words in German and Greek). The southern constellation was among those added to the map 1590s by Flemish cartographer Petrus Plancius.
cranial (adj.) Look up cranial at Dictionary.com
1779, from Modern Latin cranium, from Greek kranion "skull" (see cranium) + -al (1).
cranio- Look up cranio- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "of the brain," from Latinized comb. form of Greek kranion "skull" (see cranium).
craniotomy (n.) Look up craniotomy at Dictionary.com
1817, from cranio- + -tomy.
cranium (n.) Look up cranium at Dictionary.com
early 15c., craneum, from Medieval Latin cranium "skull," from Greek kranion "skull, upper part of the head," related to kara (poetic kras) "head," from PIE root *ker- (1) "horn; head." Strictly, the bones which enclose the brain.
crank (n.) Look up crank at Dictionary.com
"handle for turning a revolving axis," 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 from a figurative use. The 1825 supplement to Jamieson's Scottish dictionary has crank "infirm, weak, etc."

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.
crank (v.) Look up crank at Dictionary.com
1590s, "to zig-zag," from crank (n.). Meaning "to turn a crank" is first attested 1908, with reference to automobile engines. Related: Cranked; cranking.
crankshaft (n.) Look up crankshaft at Dictionary.com
1803, from crank (v.) + shaft (n.). The basic form of the mechanism appears to date from Roman times.
cranky (adj.) Look up cranky at Dictionary.com
"cross-tempered, irritable," 1807, from crank (n.) + -y (2). The evolution would be from earlier senses of crank, such as "a twist or fanciful turn of speech" (1590s); "inaccessible hole or crevice" (1560s). Grose's 1787 "Provincial Glossary" has "Cranky. Ailing sickly from the dutch crank, sick," and identifies it as a Northern word. Jamieson's Scottish dictionary (1825) has crank in a secondary sense of "hard, difficult," as in crank word, "a word hard to be understood;" crank job, "a work attended with difficulty, or requiring ingenuity in the execution." Related: Crankily; crankiness.
Ben. Dang it, don't you spare him--A cross grain'd cranky toad as ever crawl'd. (etc.) [Richard Cumberland, "Lovers Resolutions," Act I, 1813]
cranny (n.) Look up cranny at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., possibly from a diminutive of Middle French cran "notch, fissure" (14c.), from crener "to notch, split," from Medieval Latin crenare, possibly from Latin cernere "to separate, sift" (from PIE root *krei- "to sieve"). But OED casts doubt on this derivation.
crap (v.) Look up crap at Dictionary.com
"defecate," 1846, from one of a cluster of words generally applied to things cast off or discarded (such as "weeds growing among corn" (early 15c.), "residue from renderings" (late 15c.), underworld slang for "money" (18c.), and in Shropshire, "dregs of beer or ale"), all probably from Middle English crappe "grain that was trodden underfoot in a barn, chaff" (mid-15c.), from Middle French crape "siftings," from Old French crappe, from Medieval Latin crappa, crapinum "chaff." Related: Crapped; crapping.

Despite folk etymology insistence, not from Thomas Crapper (1837-1910) who was, however, a busy plumber and may have had some minor role in the development of modern toilets. The name Crapper is a northern form of Cropper (attested from 1221), an occupational surname, obviously, but the exact reference is unclear. Crap (v.) as a variant of crop (v.) was noted early 19c, as a peculiarity of speech in Scotland and what was then the U.S. Southwest (Arkansas, etc.).
Draw out yere sword, thou vile South'ron!
Red wat wi' blude o' my kin!
That sword it crapped the bonniest flower
E'er lifted its head to the sun!

[Allan Cunningham (1784-1842), "The Young Maxwell"]
crap (n.) Look up crap at Dictionary.com
"act of defecation," 1898; see crap (v.). Sense of "rubbish, nonsense" also first recorded 1898.
crape (n.) Look up crape at Dictionary.com
1630s, Englished spelling of crepe (q.v.).
crappie (n.) Look up crappie at Dictionary.com
type of freshwater fish, 1856, American English, of unknown origin; perhaps from Canadian French dialectal crappé.
crappy (adj.) Look up crappy at Dictionary.com
1846, from crap (n.) + -y (2). Related: Crappily; crappiness.
craps (n.) Look up craps at Dictionary.com
1843, American English, unrelated to the term for excrement, instead it is from Louisiana French craps "the game of hazard," from an 18c. continental French corruption of English crabs, which was 18c. slang for "a throw of two or three" (the lowest throw), which perhaps is from crab (n.2), the sense in crab apple. The 1843 citation (in an anti-gambling publication, "An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling") calls it "a game lately introduced into New Orleans."
crapulent (adj.) Look up crapulent at Dictionary.com
1650s, from Latin crapulentus "very drunk," from crapula "excessive drinking" (see crapulous). Related: Crapulence.
crapulous (adj.) Look up crapulous at Dictionary.com
1530s, "sick from too much drinking," from Latin crapula, from Greek kraipale "hangover, drunken headache, nausea from debauching." The Romans used it for drunkenness itself. English has used it in both senses. Related: Crapulously; crapulousness.
crash (v.) Look up crash at Dictionary.com
late 14c., crasschen "break in pieces;" probably imitative. Meaning "break into a party, etc." is 1922. Slang meaning "to sleep" dates from 1943; especially from 1965. Computing sense is from 1973. Related: Crashed; crashing.
crash (n.) Look up crash at Dictionary.com
1570s, from crash (v.); sense of "financial collapse" is from 1817, "collision" is from 1910; references to falling of airplanes are from World War I.
crass (adj.) Look up crass at Dictionary.com
1540s, from Middle French crasse (16c.), from Latin crassus "solid, thick, fat; dense." The literal sense always has been rare in English; meaning "grossly stupid" is recorded from 1650s, from French. Middle English had cras (adj.) "slow, sluggish, tardy" (mid-15c.), also crassitude "thickness." Related: Crassly; crassness.
crate (n.) Look up crate at Dictionary.com
"large box," 1680s, earlier "hurdle, grillwork" (late 14c.), from Latin cratis "wickerwork, lattice, kitchen-rack," or from Dutch krat "basket;" both perhaps from a common PIE root *kert- "to turn, entwine" (see hurdle (n.)).
crate (v.) Look up crate at Dictionary.com
"to put in a crate," 1871, from crate (n.). Related: Crated; crating.
crater (n.) Look up crater at Dictionary.com
1610s, from Latin crater, from Greek krater "bowl for mixing wine with water," from kera- "to mix," from PIE root *kere- "to mix, confuse; cook" (see rare (adj.2)). Used in Latin for bowl-shaped mouth of a volcano. Applied to features of the Moon since 1831 (they originally were thought to be volcanic). As a verb, from 1830 in poetry, 1872 in science. Related: Cratered; cratering.
cravat (n.) Look up cravat at Dictionary.com
1650s, from French cravate (17c.), from Cravate "Croatian," from German Krabate, from Serbo-Croatian Hrvat "a Croat" (see Croat). Cravats came into fashion 1650s in imitation of linen scarves worn by Croatian mercenaries in the Thirty Years' War.
crave (v.) Look up crave at Dictionary.com
Old English crafian "ask, implore, demand by right," from North Germanic *krabojan (source also of Old Norse krefja "to demand," Danish kræve, Swedish kräva); perhaps related to craft in its base sense of "power." Current sense "to long for" is c. 1400, probably through intermediate meaning "to ask very earnestly" (c. 1300). Related: Craved; craving.
craven (adj.) Look up craven at Dictionary.com
early 13c., cravant, perhaps from Old French crevante "defeated," past participle of cravanter "to strike down, to fall down," from Latin crepare "to crack, creak." Sense affected by crave and moved from "defeated" to "cowardly" (c. 1400) perhaps via intermediary sense of "confess oneself defeated." Related: Cravenly; cravenness.
cravings (n.) Look up cravings at Dictionary.com
"urgent desires," 17c., from craving, verbal noun from crave.
craw (n.) Look up craw at Dictionary.com
Old English *cræg "throat," from Proto-Germanic *krag- "throat" (source also of Middle Dutch craghe "neck, throat," Old High German chrago, German Kragen "collar, neck"), of obscure origin.
crawfish (n.) Look up crawfish at Dictionary.com
1620s, variant of crayfish. Not originally an American form. Also in 19c. American English as a verb, "to back out," in reference to the creature's movements.