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1. Mach.any of several types of arms or levers for imparting rotary or oscillatory motion to a rotating shaft, one end of the crank being fixed to the shaft and the other end receiving reciprocating motion from a hand, connecting rod, etc.
2. Informal.an ill-tempered, grouchy person.
3. an unbalanced person who is overzealous in the advocacy of a private cause.
4. an eccentric or whimsical notion.
5. a strikingly clever turn of speech or play on words.
6. Archaic.a bend; turn.
7. Slang.the nasal decongestant propylhexedrine, used illicitly for its euphoric effects.
8. Auto. Slang.a crankshaft.
1. to bend into or make in the shape of a crank.
2. to furnish with a crank.
3. Mach.to rotate (a shaft) by means of a crank.
4. to start (an internal-combustion engine) by turning the crankshaft manually or by means of a small motor.
5. to start the engine of (a motor vehicle) by turning the crankshaft manually.
1. to turn a crank, as in starting an automobile engine.
2. Obs.to turn and twist; zigzag.
3. crank down, to cause to diminish or terminate: the president's efforts to crank down inflation.
4. crank in or into, to incorporate as an integral part: Overhead is cranked into the retail cost.
5. crank out, to make or produce in a mass-production, effortless, or mechanical way: She's able to crank out one best-selling novel after another.
6. crank up, Informal.
a. to get started or ready: The theater season is cranking up with four benefit performances.
b. to stimulate, activate, or produce: to crank up enthusiasm for a new product.
c. to increase one's efforts, output, etc.: Industry began to crank up after the new tax incentives became law.
1. unstable; shaky; unsteady.
2. of, pertaining to, or by an unbalanced or overzealous person: a crank phone call; crank mail.
3. Brit. Dial.cranky1 (def. 5).
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Also,cranky.having a tendency to roll easily, as a boat or ship; tender (opposed to stiff).
a crank vessel.
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—adj. Brit. Dial.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.