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Crack

as a crack man, a first-rate fellow; a crack hand at cards, a first-rate player; a crack article, an excellent one, i.e. an article cracked up or boasted about. This is the Latin crepo, to crack or boast about. Hence Lucretius ii. 1168,“crepas antiquum genus.”

“Indeed, la! `tis a noble child; a crack, madam.” Shakespeare: Coriolanus, i.3.

A gude crack.
A good talker.

“To be a gude crack ... was essential to the trade of a `puir body' of the more esteemed class.” —Sir W. Scott: The Autiquary (Introduction).

In a crack.
Instantly. In a snap of the fingers, crepitu digitorum (in a crack of the fingers). (French, craquer.)

“Une allusion au bruit de l'ongle contre la dent que les Orieutaux du moyen âme touchaient du doight quand ils voulaient affirmer solennellement une chose.” Hence -

Sire, bien vous croi seur les Dieux;
Mais asses vous querroie mieux
Se vous l'ongle hurties an dent.

Theatre Francois de Moyen Age, p. 167.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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