1570s, "loud, harsh, complex sound, as of heavy things falling or breaking," from crash (v.). From 1718 as "a falling down or to pieces." Sense of "financial collapse" is from 1817; that of "collision" is from 1910; references to falling of airplanes are from World War I. Crash-landing attested by 1928. Crash-program in reference to rapid, intense instruction is by 1947; crash-course in the same sense is by 1958.
late 14c., crasschen "break in pieces; make a loud, clattering sound;" probably imitative. Meaning "break into a party, etc." is 1922. Slang meaning "to sleep" dates from 1943; especially from 1965. Of destructive aircraft landings, 1910 (intransitive), 1915 (transitive). Computing sense "functional failure of a program" is from 1973. Related: Crashed; crashing. Crashing (adj.) as "overwhelming" (typically in crashing bore) is by 1930.
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