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[kruhm] /krʌm/
a small particle of bread, cake, etc., that has broken off.
a small particle or portion of anything; fragment; bit.
the soft inner portion of a bread (distinguished from crust).
crumbs, a cake topping made of sugar, flour, butter, and spice, usually crumbled on top of the raw batter and baked with the cake.
Slang. a contemptibly objectionable or worthless person.
verb (used with object)
Cookery. to dress or prepare with crumbs.
to break into crumbs or small fragments.
to remove crumbs from:
The waiter crumbed the table.
Origin of crumb
before 1000; Middle English crome, crume, Old English cruma; akin to Dutch kruim, German Krume crumb, Latin grūmus heap of earth
Related forms
crumbable, adjective
crumber, noun
decrumb, verb (used with object)
2. scrap, shred, morsel, sliver, speck. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for crumb
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He slily got a crumb between a finger and thumb and shot it as boys do marbles, keeping the hand quite still.

  • She thought she could not swallow a crumb; but she was mistaken.

    The Orphans of Glen Elder Margaret Murray Robertson
  • He took a piece of the crumb, wiped it round his plate edge, and held it up to her mouth.

    In a German Pension Katherine Mansfield
  • I could turn the crumb round and let you get it, but you shall take it properly in your hand.

    The Dingo Boys G. Manville Fenn
  • When every crumb is picked up and eaten, we all lift our eyes to heaven, and the father repeats a prayer of thanksgiving to God.

    Hebrew Life and Times Harold B. Hunting
  • Why, a man didn't know where to turn himself for a crumb of comfort.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • He would go in, a nobody, and pick up a crumb of entertainment.

British Dictionary definitions for crumb


a small fragment of bread, cake, or other baked foods
a small piece or bit: crumbs of information
the soft inner part of bread
(slang) a contemptible person
(transitive) to prepare or cover (food) with breadcrumbs
to break into small fragments
(esp of pie crusts) made with a mixture of biscuit crumbs, sugar, etc
Derived Forms
crumber, noun
Word Origin
Old English cruma; related to Middle Dutch krome, Middle High German krūme, Latin grūmus heap of earth
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for crumb

Old English cruma "crumb, fragment," from a West Germanic root of obscure origin (cf. Middle Dutch crume, Dutch kruim, German krume). The -b- appeared mid-15c., in part by analogy with words like dumb, in part from crumble. Slang meaning "lousy person" is 1918, from crumb, U.S. slang for "body-louse" (1863), so called from resemblance.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for crumb



  1. A louse or bedbug (1863+)
  2. A blanket roll or pack; bindle (1910+ Hoboes)
  3. A dirty, slovenly person; crud, dirtball (1918+)
  4. A loathsome, contemptible person; creep (1918+)

[fr the resemblance of a louse to a crumb]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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crumb in Technology

data, jargon
(Or tayste /tayst/) Silly suggested term for two binary digits.
The term "quarter" has also been suggested, referring to the US 25-cent coin. This was once equal in value to two of the eight "bits" - pie-slice-shaped "pieces of eight" - into which Spanish silver crowns were cut to make change.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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