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Thread: Crack a problem

  1. #1
    nyggus is offline Key Member
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    Question Crack a problem

    Hi. Actually, I am not sure whether indeed it is an idiom, but it likely is an idiomatic expression. "To crack a problem"--this is what I want to ask about. Of course, I fell what it may mean, but there are a couple of slightly different meanings that I can figure. So, what does it mean?

    Thanks,
    Nyggus
    Last edited by BobK; 10-Dec-2006 at 23:40. Reason: :oops: Sorry.

  2. #2
    curmudgeon's Avatar
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    Re: Crack a problem

    Tell me what you think it means

  3. #3
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: Crack a problem

    I won't answer your question, because curmudgeon's waiting for you to.

    But I'll just add that there's an informal idiom - 'to crack it', used between people who know what 'the problem' is, and who therefore know that it refers to the problem.

    So 'crack it' = 'crack the problem' (or decipher a code or guess a password). But we still don't know what 'crack the problem' means. Nyggus?

  4. #4
    curmudgeon's Avatar
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    Re: Crack a problem

    Nyggus is offline so I guess we'll have to wait, or perhaps you can carry on Bob? I was just interested in the 'couple of different meanings'.

  5. #5
    nyggus is offline Key Member
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    Re: Crack a problem

    Hi, Curmudgeon and BobK. I see I might have drop a brick. Well, the meanings I could imagine are those I did find in Polish-English and German-English dictionaries and those I could imagine myself. First, it may mean "to try to solve a problem." Second, "to solve a problem." Today, actually, I think these two represent what I called "a couple of slightly different meanings that I can figure," though it is interesting what I was thinking of yesterday... But it may also mean "to solve a problem with difficulties" or "to solve a problem bit by bit" or something like that...

    Best,
    Nyggus

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Crack a problem

    Hmmm 'to have a crack at' is to try do something, so I wouldn't agree with the first meaning.

  7. #7
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Re: Crack a problem

    There is an American expression take a crack at it. If a person is going to try to solve a problem he might say, "I'll take a crack at it."

    ~R

  8. #8
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    Re: Crack a problem

    Quote Originally Posted by nyggus View Post
    Hi. Actually, I am not sure whether indeed it is an idiom, but it likely is an idiomatic expression. "To crack a problem"--this is what I want to ask about. Of course, I fell what it may mean, but there are a couple of slightly different meanings that I can figure. So, what does it mean?

    Thanks,
    Nyggus
    It isn't an idiom; it isn't even a common collocation. Tha does not mean it is incorrect, however. "Crack" has many meanings.

    crack (krăk)

    v.tr.
    1. To cause to make a sharp snapping sound.
    2. To cause to break without complete separation of parts: cracked the glass.
      1. To break with a sharp snapping sound. See synonyms at break.
      2. To crush (corn or wheat, for example) into small pieces.
    3. To open to a slight extent: cracked the window to let in some air.
    4. To strike with a sudden sharp sound.
    5. Informal.
      1. To break open or into: crack a safe.
      2. To open up for use or consumption: crack a book; cracked a beer.
      3. To break through (an obstacle) in order to win acceptance or acknowledgement: finally cracked the “men-only” rule at the club.
    6. To discover the solution to, especially after considerable effort: crack a code.
    7. To cause (the voice) to crack.
    8. Informal. To tell (a joke), especially on impulse or in an effective manner.
    9. To cause to have a mental or physical breakdown.
    10. To impair or destroy: Their rude remarks cracked his equanimity.
    11. To reduce (petroleum) to simpler compounds by cracking.

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    Re: Crack a problem

    We have a phrase in Northern England 'that's cracked it' and it is used similarly to the phrase 'that's opened a can of worms', sit back and expect the consequences.

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Crack a problem

    That's interesting- I would interpret it as having solved it not made things worse. (Not a Northerner)

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