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Uncertain. Originally Scottish; probably onomatopoeic, but compare Middle English thakken < Old English þaccian (whence Modern thwack by conflation with whack).



whack (plural whacks)

  1. The sound of a heavy strike.
  2. The strike itself.
  3. The stroke itself, regardless of its successful impact.
  4. (US, slang) An attempt, a chance, a turn, a go, originally an attempt to beat someone or something.
    C'mon. Take a whack at it.
    40 bucks a whack.
  5. (originally UK cant, somewhat dated) A share, a portion, especially a full share or large portion.
    • 1848 November – 1850 December, William Makepeace Thackeray, chapter 39, in The History of Pendennis. [], volume (please specify |volume=I or II), London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1849–1850, OCLC 2057953:
      I don’t care about much wine afterwards—I take my whack at dinner—I mean my share, you know; and when I have had as much as I want I toddle up to tea.
    • 1906 May–October, Jack London, chapter 2, in White Fang, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., published October 1906, OCLC 288492, part 1 (The Wild), page 16:
      “It’s damned tame, whatever it is, comin’ in here at feedin’ time an’ gettin’ its whack of fish.”
    • 1938, Xavier Herbert, Capricornia, New York: Appleton, Chapter VII, page 108,[1]
      [] O'Cannon's a taxpayer. He pays his whack towards the upkeep of the State School up in town—”
    • 1951, Katherine Mansfield, Letters to John Middleton Murry, 1913-1922,
      For one thing I had a splendid supper when I got on board—a whack of cold, lean beef and pighells, bread, butter ad lib., tea, and plenty of good bread.
    • 2014, Anthony Pritchard, Grand Prix Ferrari (page 203)
      There were problems over the installation of the engine and the handling. The team had paid top whack for the two Coopers, but the company gave them no help at all.
  6. (obsolete) A whack-up: a division of an amount into separate whacks, a divvying up.
  7. (US, obsolete) A deal, an agreement.
    It's a whack!
  8. (dated, disco-era drug slang) PCP, phencyclidine (as also wack).
  9. (typography, computing, slang) The backslash, ⟨ \ ⟩.
    del c:\docs\readme.txt
    Delete c colon whack docs whack readme dot text.

Derived terms[edit]



whack (third-person singular simple present whacks, present participle whacking, simple past and past participle whacked)

  1. To hit, slap or strike.
    The bat whacked the baseball.
    • 1899 February, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume CLXV, number M, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, [], OCLC 1042815524, part I, page 198:
      Therefore he whacked the old nigger mercilessly, while a big crowd of his people watched him, thunderstruck, till some man, - I was told the chief's son, - in desperation at hearing the old chap yell, made a tentative jab with a spear at the white man - and of course it went quite easy between the shoulder-blades.
    • G. W. Cable
      Rodsmen were whacking their way through willow brakes.
  2. (slang) To kill, bump off.
    • 2008 April 29, Rockstar, Grand Theft Auto 4, Take-Two Interactive, level/area: Flatline:
      Niko Bellic: So you want me to talk to him? / Jimmy Pegorino: I want you to whack him! And after that I want you to kill all the other rats I surround myself with...
  3. (transitive, slang) To share or parcel out (often with up).
    to whack the spoils of a robbery
    • 1851, Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor, London: G. Newbold, Volume 2, p. 152,
      When the sewer-hunters consider they have searched long enough [] the gang [] count out the money they have picked up, and proceed to dispose of the old metal, bones, rope, &c.; this done, they then, as they term it, “whack” the whole lot; that is, they divide it equally among all hands.
  4. (sports) To beat convincingly; to thrash.
    • 2012, Ryan Pyette, Majors, Panthers play mind games, The London Free Press:
      The fidgety Majors were whacked 9-1 by the Kitchener Panthers at Couch and now trail their rivals 2-0 in an increasingly uncomfortable best-of-seven Intercounty Baseball League first-round series.
  5. (UK, chiefly in the negative) To surpass; to better.
    • 2012, Steve Cullen, Total Flyfisher:
      Recently I was over in Ireland, I love the place, proper fishing, can't whack it!


Derived terms[edit]



whack (comparative whacker, superlative whackest)

  1. Alternative form of wack (crazy)
    That's whack, yo!
    • 2007, Joyce E. Davis, Can't Stop The Shine, page 51:
      As they joked about the big butts on female celebrities and what rappers had the whackest lyrics, Malcolm paid little attention to Kalia besides squeezing her hand or grabbing her arm to hold himself up []


  • Oxford English Dictionary, 1st ed. "whack, n." Oxford University Press (Oxford), 1923.