"to strike sharply," 1719, probably of imitative origin. The noun is from 1737. The word in out of whack (1885) is perhaps the slang meaning "share, just portion" (1785), which may be from the notion of the blow that divides, or the rap of the auctioneer's hammer. To have (or take) a whack at something "make an attempt" is from 1891. Related: Whacked; whacking. Whacked out is from 1969.