crack of dawn


crack of dawn


  • very early in the morning
  • the time right before sunrise
  • first light
  • daybreak or the break of day
  • early morning
  • sunrise or sunup

Example Sentences

  1. We shared, cared and cheered until we were at the crack of dawn.
  2. TV channels start discussing what can happen at the crack of dawn.
  3. At the crack of dawn, Dad and I were back at the track. I’d hardly slept, but I didn’t care.
  4. Jane started at the crack of dawn and only went home in the evening after the whole team had stopped working.
  5. Tim always keeps busy from the crack of dawn to the late afternoon.
  6. We are leaving this place at the crack of dawn tomorrow.
  7. You should go to bed now – if you wish to wake up at the crack of dawn
  8. Jenny is always up at the crack of dawn while Jack is a pure night owl.
  9. We were always up at the crack of dawn to catch more fishes.
  10. She goes to the gym at the crack of dawn every day.


“The crack of dawn” is originally derived from “the crack of day” that first appeared in the late 1800s.

Although there are no definitive clues of the idiom’s origin history, to decipher it, you can look at the roots of the word “crack.” In this context, it means to begin. Thus, the crack of dawn will be at the beginning of the morning.

You can also look at the symbolism of the phrase. The crack of dawn would be the single second in which the sun appears above the horizon. The word “crack” can also mean a split or an opening. As the sun appears above the horizon, it seems to “crack” the darkness. Initially, you will only be able to see a thin line of sunlight that progressively becomes wider.

In the 1300s, the word “crack” meant to burst or to split open. If you have ever looked at the sun rising, you will have noticed that it seems like something is slowly breaking free. The sun could also be said to “burst” over the horizon. One minute is it not there, and the next, it has appeared.

There are many theories of the idiom’s etymology, depending on how you interpret the word “crack.”

Share your opinions5 Opinions

fm a milatary air navagator: around 3:00 e.s.t about 6:00 mid atlantic the sozzing pilotwoke up and said it stiinks in here copilot did you fart? copilot said no was i supposed to? nav. said “pilot that is the crack of dawn”.

‒ jack draughn August 13, 2022

How about when it comes above the horizon, it looks like a cracked egg?

‒ Dawn June 14, 2022

I agree with some of the statements made… technically though, Dawn is the morning twilight which starts when the sun is 6° BELOW the horizon and ENDS when the sun first goes above the horizon. People make words mean whatever they want them to mean and meanings many times will change over time due to the incorrect usage that is somehow accepted (this aspect obviously bothers me!! Lol).

‒ Anonymous September 13, 2019

I listened to a reading by Christine Sweet. In the story the old aunt died at the crack of dawn, just as the old apple tree cracked and fell. There was a significance there but I don’t remember. Most nights I’m awake and see the crack of dawn A few times I’ve heard a noise It’s my favorite part of the 24 hours, Wish I could find that recording again.

‒ Nancy February 2, 2019

There are many theories as to the origin of this phrase. One is when the first rays of sunlight rise above the horizon and hit the rocks of hills or mountains, the rocks immediately start to warm and, depending on the rocks, can emit cracking sounds. Hence, the crack of dawn.

‒ JEL June 9, 2018

What's on your mind?