- a person or device that cracks
- a firecracker
- a little paper roll used as a favor at parties: it contains a trinket or candy, and bursts with a popping noise when the ends are pulled
- a thin, crisp wafer or biscuit
- poor white: contemptuous term
- [usuallyC-]Informal a person born or living in Florida or Georgia: a humorous usage
- Slang, Comput. hacker (sense )
Origin of crackerfrom crack, intransitive verb; crackersense from earlier sense “braggart, boaster”
- A thin crisp wafer or biscuit, usually made of unsweetened dough.
- One that cracks, especially:a. A firecracker.b. A small cardboard cylinder covered with decorative paper that holds candy or a party favor and pops when a paper strip is pulled at one or both ends and torn.c. The apparatus used in the cracking of petroleum.d. One who gains unauthorized access to a computer or computer network, usually for a malicious purpose such as to steal information or damage programs. See Usage Note at hacker.
- Offensive Used as a disparaging term for a white person, especially one who is poor and from the southeast United States.
- A dry, thin, crispy, and usually salty or savoury biscuit.
- A short piece of twisted string tied to the end of a whip that creates the distinctive sound when the whip is thrown or cracked.
- A firecracker.
- A person or thing that cracks, or that cracks a thing (e.g. whip cracker; nutcracker).
- (Perhaps from previous sense.) A native of Florida or Georgia. See Cracker (slang)
- A white person (pejorative). Also "white cracker". See Cracker (slang)
- A Christmas cracker
- Refinery equipment used to pyrolyse organic feedstocks. If catalyst is used to aid pyrolysis it is informally called a cat-cracker
- (chiefly UK) A fine thing or person (crackerjack).
- She's an absolute cracker! The show was a cracker!
- An ambitious or hard-working person (i.e. someone who arises at the 'crack' of dawn).
- (computing) One who cracks (i.e. overcomes) computer software or security restrictions.
- The pintail duck.
From the verb to crack. Hard "bread/biscuit" sense first attested 1739, though "hard wafer" sense attested 1440.
Sense of computer cracker, crack, cracking, were promoted in the 1980s as an alternative to hacker, by programmers concerned about negative public associations of hack, hacking (“creative computer coding”). See Citations:cracker.
- (US, pejorative, ethnic slur) An impoverished white person from the southeastern United States, originally associated with Georgia and parts of Florida; by extension: any white person.
Various theories exists regarding this term's application to poor white Southerners. One theory holds that it originated with disadvantaged corn and wheat farmers ("corncrackers"), who cracked their crops rather than taking them to the mill. Another theory asserts that it was applied due to Georgia and Florida settlers (Florida crackers) who cracked loud whips to drive herds of cattle, or, alternatively, from the whip cracking of plantation slave drivers. Yet another theory maintains that the term cracker was in use in Elizabethan times to describe braggarts (see crack (“to boast”)). An early reference that supports this sense is a letter dated June 27, 1766 from Gavin Cochrane to the Earl of Dartmouth:
I should explain to your Lordship what is meant by crackers; a name they have got from being great boasters; they are a lawless set of rascalls on the frontiers of Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas and Georgia, who often change their places of abode.
cracker - Computer Definition
A computer enthusiast, or computerphile, who gains, or attempts to gain, unauthorized access to computers or computer networks and tamper with operating systems, application programs, and databases. See also hacker.
(1) A person who breaks into a computer system without authorization, whose purpose is to do damage (destroy files, steal credit card numbers, plant viruses, etc.). Because a cracker uses low-level hacker skills to do cracking, the terms "cracker" and "hacker" have become synonymous with the latter becoming the most widely used term. See hacker, ECPA, CFA and virus.
(2) A person who reverse engineers software and modifies it for fun. Often applies to game software. See disassembler.