crank

To crank is to turn or rotate something using a handle or lever. The earliest automobiles required drivers to crank the engine before they could climb in and start driving.

You might crank a paper towel machine in a restroom to unspool the towels, or crank a music box to start it up — in either case, you're turning a handle, which is also called a crank. You can also say that you crank up the engine when you start your car, even though you're not literally turning or winding anything. A completely different kind of crank is a grouchy, opinionated person. This last meaning comes from cranky.

Primary Meanings of crank

1.
vn
rotate with a crank
a hand tool consisting of a rotating shaft with parallel handle
2.
n
a bad-tempered person
3.
n
an amphetamine derivative (trade name Methedrine) used in the form of a crystalline hydrochloride; used as a stimulant to the nervous system and as an appetite suppressant
4.
adj
(used of boats) inclined to heel over easily under sail
Full Definitions of crank
1

v rotate with a crank

Synonyms:
crank up
Type of:
circumvolve, rotate
cause to turn on an axis or center

v fasten with a crank

Type of:
fasten, fix, secure
cause to be firmly attached

v start by cranking

crank up the engine”
Synonyms:
crank up
Type of:
start, start up
get going or set in motion

v bend into the shape of a crank

Type of:
bend, deform, flex, turn, twist
cause (a plastic object) to assume a crooked or angular form

v travel along a zigzag path

Synonyms:
zigzag
Type of:
go, locomote, move, travel
change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically

n a hand tool consisting of a rotating shaft with parallel handle

Synonyms:
starter
Types:
crank handle, starting handle
crank used to start an engine
Type of:
hand tool
a tool used with workers' hands
2

n a bad-tempered person

Synonyms:
churl, crosspatch, grouch, grump
Types:
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
crab, crabby person
a quarrelsome grouch
fire-eater, hothead
a belligerent grouch
misanthrope, misanthropist
someone who dislikes people in general
misogynist, woman hater
a misanthrope who dislikes women in particular
Type of:
disagreeable person, unpleasant person
a person who is not pleasant or agreeable

n a whimsically eccentric person

Synonyms:
crackpot, fruitcake, nut, nut case, screwball
Type of:
eccentric, eccentric person, flake, geek, oddball
a person with an unusual or odd personality
3

n an amphetamine derivative (trade name Methedrine) used in the form of a crystalline hydrochloride; used as a stimulant to the nervous system and as an appetite suppressant

Type of:
controlled substance
a drug or chemical substance whose possession and use are controlled by law
4

adj (used of boats) inclined to heel over easily under sail

Synonyms:
cranky, tender, tippy
unstable
lacking stability or fixity or firmness

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