Fracking Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

This is your guide the meaning of fracking. It’s complete with definitions, history, examples, synonyms, and more to help you understand fracking.

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Sometimes, we hear words in highly charged topics of interest that we don’t understand. When this happens, you may be hesitant to ask about its meaning in case you stir up a heated discussion. However, it’s necessary to learn the meaning of a word before you can develop an opinion on it. Read on to learn the meaning of fracking and why this term is so controversial.

What Does Fracking Mean?

According to the IPAA, fracking is the high-pressure injection of fluids into shale beds in an effort to free up petroleum resources. Shale is a fine-grained sedimentary rock, and it is the most abundant sedimentary rock that can be found worldwide.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), “fracking” is a popular term for the hydraulic fracturing process. Hydraulic fracturing is the development process for an oil and gas well. 

Typically, a high-pressure injection is blasted into a bedrock formation via the well, and it shoots sand, water, and chemicals into the bedrock with this injection. Its intention is to create new fractures or increase the size of existing fractures.

Fracking is a technique for well stimulation to increase oil production and other natural resources. The cracks created or expanded by fracking can allow petroleum, natural gas, and brine to flow more freely. 

What Is the Origin of the Word Fracking?

Fracking is an abbreviation for hydraulic fracturing. The abbreviation dates back to the 1950s. In 1947, the technique of hydraulic fracturing was first an experiment. After its success, the technique became a successful commercial application in 1950.

As far back as the 1860s, fracturing was used to stimulate shallow and hard rock oil wells, and the technique grew into what we know as fracking today. After its commercial success, it was another 18 years before massive fracturing was applied by Pan American Petroleum in Oklahoma. This massive fracturing spread in popularity, and the use of this technique continues to grow.

This led to horizontal drilling, and that has increased the global production of fossil fuels like oil and petroleum. This led to a drilling boom, and several states in the U.S. experienced the fracking boom including:

  • North Dakota
  • Texas
  • Pennsylvania

Fracking’s shale wells remain concentrated in Texas, North Dakota, Louisiana, and the Marcellus Shale region in the East.

How Do We Use the Word Fracking?

Most commonly, fracking is discussed in the news. Sometimes it’s presented as an environmental, economic, or political issue

Since fracking has become increasingly popular, concerns have been raised on how this might affect the environment and other areas of the economy. For example, fracking increased natural gas production, which has made natural gas prices much cheaper. This, in turn, affects the coal industry. Many utility providers have made the switch from coal to this cheaper product that produces fewer carbon-dioxide emissions. 

Not everyone has welcomed fracking with open arms. As we learn more, it is believed that fracking contributes considerably to an increase in earthquakes. Seismic activity increases thanks to the fractures created in the shale rock formations. 

Additionally, there are concerns that the mixture of water, sand, and chemicals in the fracking fluid and techniques used in fracking could lead to spills that can contaminate groundwater resources. The EPA is keeping a close eye on this issue and is conducting studies, particularly on a shallow well in Wyoming.

Usually, the methane found in pockets during fracking is captured. Occasionally, a potent greenhouse gas called methane escapes, causing emission concerns of its own. This can be a contributing factor to climate change.

Some states take the threats associated with fracking very seriously and have chosen to take action against it. For example, New York placed a moratorium against fracking in 2010. 

Whether fracking is good or bad is still a matter of debate for many.

What Are the Synonyms of Fracking?

Synonyms are words that have the same meaning as a given word. They help us understand the meaning of a word more thoroughly. Because fracking is another word for a type of fracturing, here are synonyms for fracturing:

  • Collapsing
  • Smashing
  • Splintering
  • Splitting
  • Cracking
  • Crumbling
  • Shattering
  • Tearing

What Are the Antonyms of Fracking?

Antonyms are words that have the opposite meaning of a subject word. By understanding what a word does not mean you more fully understand what a word does mean. Since fracking is another word for fracturing, here are antonyms of the word fracturing:

  • Enduring
  • Unbreak
  • Fixing
  • Connecting

Examples of How To Use the Word Fracking

Example sentences help us see a word in action. We learn how to use the word in context and in ways that flow smoothly in conversation. Here are some examples of using fracking in a sentence:

  • In Europe, fracking could boost gas production and save it from its state of decline.
  • How many fracking wells exist in the United States in 2022?
  • The actor Mark Ruffalo is very outspoken against fracking.
  • My friend likes to joke about how RuPaul was caught fracking on his ranch.
  • Not everyone knows what fracking means.
  • The drill for fracking is down today.
  • Fracking is a way of extracting natural resources like natural gas.

The Last Word

Some words are controversial. Before you take a side on an issue, be sure you’ve familiarized yourself with the facts. Knowing what related keywords mean will make you better equipped to have an informed opinion. Hopefully, you understand fracking more thoroughly now. 


  1. What is Fracking? | Shale Oil and Natural Gas | IPAA 
  2. Shale | rock | Britannica 
  3. What is hydraulic fracturing? | US Geological Survey