Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Crank.

 CraneCran’nock. 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
 
Crank.
 
An Abram man (q.v.). So called from the German krank (sickly), whence cranky, “idiotic, foolish, full of whims,” and cranks (simulated sickness). These beggars were called cranks because they pretended madness and sickness to excite compassion.   1
 


 CraneCran’nock. 

 
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