• A Swallow's Nest on the Crank of a Bell-wire
    A Swallow's Nest on the Crank of a Bell-wire
  • WordNet 3.6
    • adj crank (used of boats) inclined to heel over easily under sail
    • v crank bend into the shape of a crank
    • v crank fasten with a crank
    • v crank rotate with a crank
    • v crank start by cranking "crank up the engine"
    • v crank travel along a zigzag path "The river zigzags through the countryside"
    • n crank a hand tool consisting of a rotating shaft with parallel handle
    • n crank an amphetamine derivative (trade name Methedrine) used in the form of a crystalline hydrochloride; used as a stimulant to the nervous system and as an appetite suppressant
    • n crank a whimsically eccentric person
    • n crank a bad-tempered person
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The electric automobile self-starter was invented to make it possible for women to drive without a companion, who was previously needed to crank the engine.
    • Crank (Mach) A bent portion of an axle, or shaft, or an arm keyed at right angles to the end of a shaft, by which motion is imparted to or received from it; also used to change circular into reciprocating motion, or reciprocating into circular motion. See Bell crank.
    • Crank A person full of crotchets; one given to fantastic or impracticable projects; one whose judgment is perverted in respect to a particular matter.
    • Crank A sick person; an invalid. "Thou art a counterfeit crank , a cheater."
    • Crank A twist or turn in speech; a conceit consisting in a change of the form or meaning of a word. "Quips, and cranks , and wanton wiles."
    • Crank A twist or turn of the mind; caprice; whim; crotchet; also, a fit of temper or passion. "Violent of temper; subject to sudden cranks ."
    • Crank Any bend, turn, or winding, as of a passage. "So many turning cranks these have, so many crooks."
    • Crank Full of spirit; brisk; lively; sprightly; overconfident; opinionated. "He who was, a little before, bedrid, . . . was now crank and lusty.""If you strong electioners did not think you were among the elect, you would not be so crank about it."
    • Crank (Naut) Liable to careen or be overset, as a ship when she is too narrow, or has not sufficient ballast, or is loaded too high, to carry full sail.
    • Crank Sick; infirm.
    • v. i Crank To run with a winding course; to double; to crook; to wind and turn. "See how this river comes me cranking in."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • crank Crooked; bent; distorted: as, a crank hand; crank-handed.
    • crank Hard; difficult: as, a crank word.
    • crank To run in a winding course; bend; wind; turn.
    • crank To mark crosswise on (bread and butter), to please a child.
    • n crank A bend; a turn; a twist; a winding; an involution.
    • n crank A twist or turn of speech; a conceit which consists in a grotesque or fantastic change of the form or meaning of a word.
    • n crank An absurd or unreasonable action caused by a twist of judgment; a caprice; a whim; a crotchet; a vagary.
    • n crank plural Pains; aches.
    • n crank A bent or vertical arm attached to or projecting at an angle from an axis at one end, and with provision for the application of power at the other, used for communicating circular motion, as in a grindstone, or for changing circular into reciprocating motion, as in a saw-mill, or reciprocating into circular motion, as in a steam-engine. The single crank can be used only on the end of an axis. The double crank is employed when it is necessary that the axis should be extended on both sides of the point at which the reciprocating motion is applied. An exemplification of this arrangement is afforded by the machinery of steam-vessels. The bell-crank , so called from its ordinary use in bell-hanging, performs a function totally different from that of the others, being used merely to change the direction of a reciprocating motion, as from a horizontal to a vertical line.
    • n crank An iron brace for various purposes, such as the braces which support the lanterns on the poop-quarters of vessels.
    • n crank An iron attached to the feet in curling, to prevent slipping.
    • n crank An instrument of prison discipline, consisting of a small wheel, like the paddle-wheel of a steam-vessel, which, when the prisoner turns a handle outside, revolves in a box partially filled with gravel. The labor of turning it is more or less severe, according to the quantity of gravel.
    • crank To make of the shape of a crank; bend into a crank shape.
    • crank To provide with a crank; attach a crank to.
    • crank To shackle; hamshackle (a horse).
    • crank Sick; ill; infirm; weak.
    • n crank A sick person: first used with the epithet counterfeit, designating a person who feigned sickness or frenzy in order to wring money from the compassion or fears of the beholder. See etymology and quotations.
    • n crank A person whose mind is ill-balanced or awry; one who lacks mental poise; one who is subject to crotchets, whims, caprices, or absurd or impracticable notions; especially, a person of this sort who takes up some one impracticable notion or project and urges it in season and out of season; a monomaniac.
    • crank Nautical, liable to lurch or to be capsized, as a ship when she is too narrow or has not sufficient ballast to carry full sail: opposed to stiff. Also crank-sided.
    • crank Hence In a shaky or crazy condition; loose; disjointed.
    • n crank A crank vessel; a vessel overmasted or badly ballasted.
    • crank Brisk: lively; jolly; sprightly; giddy; hence, aggressively positive or assured; self-assertive.
    • crank Briskly; cheerfully; in a lively or sprightly manner.
    • crank To creak.
    • n crank A creaking, as of an ungreased wheel.
    • n crank Figuratively, something inharmonious.
    • crank To turn with a crank; turn (an engine) with a hand-crank. This is usually done to draw in and compress the charge in a gas-engine so that it will be of the desired composition under pressure and ready to be ignited.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Crank krangk a crook or bend: a conceit in speech: a whim:
    • v.i Crank to move in a zizag manner
    • v.t Crank to shape like a crank: to provide with a crank
    • adj Crank crooked: crabbed: loose or slack
    • adj Crank krangk brisk: merry.
    • adj Crank krangk (naut.) liable to be upset
    • n Crank krangk (mach.) a lever or arm on a shaft, driven by hand or by a connecting-rod, its object being to convert reciprocating motion into rotary motion
    • ***


  • Heywood Broun
    “Just as every conviction begins as a whim so does every emancipator serve his apprenticeship as a crank. A fanatic is a great leader who is just entering the room.”
  • Mark Twain
    “A crank is someone with a new idea -- until it catches on.”
  • Mark Twain
    “The man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. cranke,; akin to E. cringe, cringle, crinkle, and to crank, a., the root meaning, probably, “to turn, twist.” See Cringe
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
M. E. kranke—A.S. crincan, to yield; cf. Ger. krank.


In literature:

He was playing, turning the crank with a swift, steady motion, his ragged hat tipped to one side.
"The Poor Little Rich Girl" by Eleanor Gates
Trained to their work, the camera men had been ready to crank their machines when Hooley grabbed up his megaphone.
"Ruth Fielding in the Great Northwest" by Alice B. Emerson
Hastily grabbing some cheese I would crank up the little lorry and depart.
"Fanny Goes to War" by Pat Beauchamp
Perhaps, after all, cranks really have to be turned.
"The River and I" by John G. Neihardt
Got no crank nowhere.
"Skyrider" by B. M. Bower
Professor Cranks saw ghosts daily.
"Tales Of Hearsay" by Joseph Conrad
With an indirect valve motion and an outside admission valve, the go-ahead eccentric follows the crank pin with engine running ahead.
"The Traveling Engineers' Association" by Anonymous
Approximately with the World War came the moderate-priced car that need not be cranked by hand.
"If You're Going to Live in the Country" by Thomas H. Ormsbee and Richmond Huntley
You don't know what a crank I got it for a partner, Rashkin.
"Potash & Perlmutter" by Montague Glass
We're in nice shape, restin' easy, but our rudder's gone an' the after web o' the crank shaft's busted.
"Captain Scraggs" by Peter B. Kyne

In poetry:

Nor tell him stories of thine own,
Nor chestnut of antiquitee;
Nor quip, nor crank, nor anything
If thou has ought of love for me.
"The Bore" by C J Dennis
Poor Humphreys was a sort of crank
(Folks said his learning made him mad,)
But this I know, he always drank,
And that will make the best man, bad.
"Dear Friends And Neighbors" by David John Scott
The young men strained upon the crank
To wring the last reluctant inch.
They laughed together, fair and frank,
And threw their loins across the winch.
"Making Cider" by Victoria Sackville-West
We turned the cranks and wrenched him hour by hour.
In silence he endured. He would not speak
Of the hidden ore. At last his joints burst out
And jetting from the ruptures fire broke.
"The Island" by George Woodcock
They are fighters, but they're not the hero kind;
They are just a gang of grimy sailormen.
They're the knights of crank and lever,
They're the stoker, and the heaver;
In their little hell-hot, iron furnace den.
"The Fire-Room Crew" by Burt Franklin Jenness
"The action is quite simple--I will try to make it clear:
This funnel-shaped receiver I apply to my left ear;
Then in this hopper I will put whate'er I wish to learn--
A page of history or of Greek,--and then this crank I'll turn.
"The Instructiphone" by Carolyn Wells

In news:

Douglas Crank, BPSO Booking Photo.
He really cranks them out — for retail sale, for other businesses, and for the dishes on Tandoor 's own menu.
Landlord concessions are showing signs of tapering off, while property sales crank up.
OXFORD TOWN – Thacker Mountain Radio cranks back up and broadcasts from Off Square Books this week featuring rock 'n' roll legend Bobby Keys (pictured here) and visiting author Michael Thomas.
If you want to keep up with him yourself in real time, "tune in" on the Internet at and on Facebook as " Theantique Crank.
Theantique Crank Twitter Facebook.
Drummer Patrick Carney pounds the skins like a drugged-up Keith Moon, and Dan Auerbach cranks out a spiky riff that's laced with Hendrix-style guitar effects.
Crank up the motorcycle, Wake Forest football fans.
Cranking up the playoff heat.
He was the guy who'd drink a few beers, maybe take a toke , stay up until 4 am then excuse himself to crank out an "A" paper due that morning.
The first few minutes of Tenacious D in ¨The Pick of Destiny¨ are something to behold: a four-minute rock opera cranked to 11.
Suppose Facebook — amid tremendous Wall Street pressure to crank up its earnings — developed a breakthrough feature that could generate billions in ad revenue.
The Wisconsin manufacturer has cranked out a series of 'ultimate road bikes' for Lance Armstrong—boosting its bottom line by selling to everyday cyclists wanting to own them.
Inimitable Maine dada-noise artist CRANK STURGEON comes to town this Saturday for a show at the semi-regular Open Sound experimental-music series at Third Life Studios.
When it gets a little warm in her new kitchen in Manhattan Beach, California, Carol Madonna, an ad agency office director, cranks open two small corner windows above the sink and lets the Pacific Ocean breeze cool things off.

In science:

As expected, we observe second-order convergence for Iterated Crank-Nicholson stepping, and fourth- and sixthorder for the appropriate higher-order Runge-Kutta algorithms.
Testing the Accuracy and Stability of Spectral Methods in Numerical Relativity
STEP 2 through M: Update of the ADM equations via an iterative Crank-Nicholson scheme (second order accurate in time) to the n + 1 timestep, then compute a corrected n + 1/2 state by averaging the n + 1 and n states.
Three Dimensional Numerical General Relativistic Hydrodynamics I: Formulations, Methods, and Code Tests
It has attractive features compared to the conventional Crank-Nicholson (CN) scheme and we discuss it shortly here.
Converting the reset
To take into account the rotational motion we add to the Hamiltonian the cranking term −ω ˆJx , as in ref. [20,18].
Particle number projection with effective forces
To illustrate more clearly our results we shall perform particle number pro jection after the variation (PAV), i.e., first the cranked HFBe equations with the Gogny force are solved, as in ref. .
Particle number projection with effective forces