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1. a decorated cardboard tube that emits a bang when pulled apart, releasing a toy, a joke, or a paper hat
2. US another word for poor White
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a cookie prepared from wheat flour, shortening, and yeast; it has a bubbly surface and a porous, crisp texture. Crackers, depending on the variety, may also contain added chemical looseners, milk, chocolate, sugar, caraway, and other ingredients.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


An individual who attempts to gain unauthorised access to a computer system. These individuals are often malicious and have many means at their disposal for breaking into a system. The term was coined ca. 1985 by hackers in defence against journalistic misuse of "hacker". An earlier attempt to establish "worm" in this sense around 1981--82 on Usenet was largely a failure.

Use of both these neologisms reflects a strong revulsion against the theft and vandalism perpetrated by cracking rings. The neologism "cracker" in this sense may have been influenced not so much by the term "safe-cracker" as by the non-jargon term "cracker", which in Middle English meant an obnoxious person (e.g., "What cracker is this same that deafs our ears / With this abundance of superfluous breath?" -- Shakespeare's King John, Act II, Scene I) and in modern colloquial American English survives as a barely gentler synonym for "white trash".

While it is expected that any real hacker will have done some playful cracking and knows many of the basic techniques, anyone past larval stage is expected to have outgrown the desire to do so except for immediate practical reasons (for example, if it's necessary to get around some security in order to get some work done).

Contrary to widespread myth, cracking does not usually involve some mysterious leap of hackerly brilliance, but rather persistence and the dogged repetition of a handful of fairly well-known tricks that exploit common weaknesses in the security of target systems. Accordingly, most crackers are only mediocre hackers.

Thus, there is far less overlap between hackerdom and crackerdom than the mundane reader misled by sensationalistic journalism might expect. Crackers tend to gather in small, tight-knit, very secretive groups that have little overlap with the huge, open hacker poly-culture; though crackers often like to describe *themselves* as hackers, most true hackers consider them a separate and lower form of life, little better than virus writers. Ethical considerations aside, hackers figure that anyone who can't imagine a more interesting way to play with their computers than breaking into someone else's has to be pretty losing.

See also Computer Emergency Response Team, dark-side hacker, hacker ethic, phreaking, samurai, Trojan Horse.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


(1) A person who breaks into a computer system without authorization, whose purpose is to do damage (destroy files, steal credit card numbers, plant viruses, etc.). Because a cracker uses low-level hacker skills to do the cracking, the terms "cracker" and "hacker" have become synonymous with the latter becoming the predominant term. See hacker, ECPA, CFA and virus.

(2) A person who reverse engineers software and modifies it for fun. The term often applies to game software. See disassembler.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Crackers are so easy to overeat, especially if you spread something delicious on them.
The Body Shop Hand Cream Crackers, PS25 for six What's inside: Each cracker comes with a mini hand cream in a fruity or floral scent like mango, pink grapefruit or rose.
Verdict: Simple and traditional 8/10 Irresistible 6 LUXURY CRACKERS PS10, The Co-op VINTAGE '30s-style rose gold black numbers that made a noise.
THE BODY SHOP HAND CREAM CRACKERS, PS25 FOR SIX 7 What's inside: Each cracker comes with a mini hand cream in a fruity or floral scent like mango, pink grapefruit or rose.
In North West Delhi, 140 kg of non-permissible crackers were seized and 57 cases were registered, while 200 kg such crackers were caught from Dwarka and total 42 cases were registered, including those selling crackers and bursting them before 8:00 pm and after 10:00 pm.
To boost your nutrient intake, consider enjoying your dip with raw veggies and your crackers with calcium-rich cheese.
8 oz Ritz Cheese Cracker Sandwiches 6 0 44000 88211 2 (UPC number) 6 Jan.
Demand for the classic snack is even higher over the festive period, with Brits set to devour almost twice as many crackers in the run up to Christmas compared to the rest of the year.
George Home 12 Crackers, PS3.50 Contrasting red and white Christmas tree design but bottom of the range toys such as a plastic magnifying glass and paper clip.
It brings with it festive lights, crackers and fireworks, but the after effects can be detrimental, not only to the environment, but also to our health.