Open main menu


I'd love to know the etymology of this common word. ---> Tooironic 23:29, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

It depends which type of crank you have in mind. The adjective cranky has a wide range of meanings here in the UK. The OED entry for the oldest root of "crank" says: Etymology: Old English cranc in cranc-stæf, Middle English crank(e, a word rarely exemplified before the 17th cent. Apparently an ablaut-derivative of the vb. crinc-an, cranc, crunc-en, found (but very rare) in Old English as a by-form of cring-an, crang, crung-en to fall in battle, of which the primitive meaning appears to have been ‘to draw oneself together in a bent form, to contract oneself stiffly, curl up’. These verbs are not known elsewhere in Germanic; but numerous derivatives occur in the other languages, connected with the two notions of ‘to bend together, crook, curl up’, and ‘to shrink, give way, become weak or ill’. English crank belongs to the literal sense-group, with the primary notion of something bent together or crooked; German and Dutch krank adj. ‘sick’, formerly ‘weak, slight, small,’ shows the figurative development. There is also the onomatopoeic verb to crank. Dbfirs 16:45, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
This is an archive page that has been kept for historical purposes. The conversations on this page are no longer live.