ETYM Old Eng. cranke; akin to Eng. cringe, cringle, crinkle, and to crank, a., the root meaning, probably, See Cringe.
Handle bent at right angles and connected to the shaft of a machine; it is used to transmit motion or convert reciprocating (back-and-forward or up-and-down) movement into rotary movement, or vice versa.
Although similar devices may have been employed in antiquity and as early as the 1st century in China and the 8th century in Europe, the earliest recorded use of a crank in a water-raising machine is by Arab mathematician al-Jazari in the 12th century. Not until the 15th century, however, did the crank become fully assimilated into developing European technology.—
Rotating shaft with parallel handle; SYN. starter.
ETYM Latin pessimus worst: cf. French pessimiste.
A person who expects the worst.