Crack Someone Up (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "Crack Someone Up"?

The term "crack someone up" means to make someone laugh.
Crack Someone Up (Origin)
The idiom "to crack someone up" originates from the 17th century, when men and women wore thick, white make-up to hide pox marks and make their skin look pale. (NB: Pale skin suggested wealth as it contrasted with the tanned complexions of those required to work outside in the fields.) When someone wearing such make-up laughed, their make-up would crack around the laughter lines.

Competing Theory

The term "to crack someone up" comes from Ireland. More specifically, it comes from the Gaelic word craic, which relates to fun and is pronounced "crack."

Previous and Next Sayings

Test Your Knowledge of English Proverbs and Idioms

Ready for the Test?

More Proverbs, Sayings, and Idioms

Help Us Improve Grammar Monster

  • Do you disagree with something on this page?
  • Did you spot a typo?

Find Us Quicker!

  • When using a search engine (e.g., Google, Bing), you will find Grammar Monster quicker if you add #gm to your search term.
Next lesson >