Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Crack,

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
as a crack man, a first-rate fellow; a crack hand at cards, a first-rate player; a crack article, an excellent one, i.e. an article cracked up or boasted about. This is the Latin crepo, to crack or boast about. Hence Lucretius ii. 1168, “crepas antiquum genus.”   1
“Indeed, la! ’tis a noble child; a crack, madam.”
Shakespeare: Coriolanus, i. 3.
   A gude crack. A good talker.   2
        “To be a gude crack … was essential to the trade of a ‘puir body’ of the more esteemed class.”—Sir W. Scott: The Antiquary (Introduction).
   In a crack. Instantly. In a snap of the fingers, crep’itu digito’rum (in a crack of the fingers). (French, craquer.)   3
        “Une allusion an bruit de l’ongle contre la doul que les Orientaux du moyen age touchaient du doight quand ils voulaient affirmer solennellement une chose.” Hence—
“Sire, bien vous croi seur les Dieux;
Mais assés vous querroie mieux
Se vous l’ongle hurties au dent.”
Théatre Francois de Moyen Age, p. 167.



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