Try Our Apps


WATCH "Lumbersexual"


[kruhnch] /krʌntʃ/
verb (used with object)
to crush with the teeth; chew with a crushing noise.
to crush or grind noisily.
to tighten or squeeze financially:
The administration's policy seems to crunch the economy in order to combat inflation.
verb (used without object)
to chew with a crushing sound.
to produce, or proceed with, a crushing noise.
an act or sound of crunching.
a shortage or reduction of something needed or wanted:
the energy crunch.
distress or depressed conditions due to such a shortage or reduction:
a budget crunch.
a critical or dangerous situation:
When the crunch comes, just do your best.
crunch numbers, Computers.
  1. to perform a great many numerical calculations or extensive manipulations of numerical data.
  2. to process a large amount of data.
Also, craunch.
Origin of crunch
1795-1805; blend of craunch and crush
Related forms
crunchable, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for crunch
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She was in the bathroom; then she began to crunch down; then she fell on her face like a board and struck her head on the floor.

    The Criminal Imbecile Henry Herbert Goddard
  • Every minute I expected to see a streak of fire, or hear the crunch of an ax.

    A Virginia Scout Hugh Pendexter
  • She heard the crunch of wheels, a low murmur of voices; beyond this, nothing more.

    Parrot & Co. Harold MacGrath
  • From outside came the crunch of moccasined feet on the frozen snow.

    A Mating in the Wilds Ottwell Binns
  • There was a crunch of breaking bone, and the white dog faced him on three legs.

    The Call of the Wild Jack London
British Dictionary definitions for crunch


to bite or chew (crisp foods) with a crushing or crackling sound
to make or cause to make a crisp or brittle sound: the snow crunched beneath his feet
the sound or act of crunching
short for abdominal crunch
(informal) the crunch, the critical moment or situation
(informal) critical; decisive: crunch time
Also called craunch
Derived Forms
crunchable, adjective
crunchy, adjective
crunchily, adverb
crunchiness, noun
Word Origin
C19: changed (through influence of munch) from earlier craunch, of imitative origin
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for crunch

1814, from craunch (1630s), probably of imitative origin. Related: Crunched; crunching. The noun is 1836, from the verb; the sense of "critical moment" was popularized 1939 by Winston Churchill, who had used it in his 1938 biography of Marlborough.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for crunch



: : It's Crunch Time in the Havens


  1. A crisis; a desperate climax; squeeze: Then came the political conventions that summer, and more crunches/ A ''crunch'' is characterized by a skyrocketing of interest rates and a choking off of the availability of credit/ The ''crunch'' between press and Government is inevitable in American affairs (1930s+)
  2. Akindof exercise for the stomach, in which one pulls the head off the floor while lying on one's back: Actress Julianne Phillips keeps her stomach flat by doing 6,000 ''crunches'' a week (1990s+)


  1. To process, usually in a wearisome way (1980s+ Computer)
  2. To study intensely; pull an all-nighter (1980s+ Students)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
crunch in Technology

1. To process, usually in a time-consuming or complicated way. Connotes an essentially trivial operation that is nonetheless painful to perform. The pain may be due to the triviality's being embedded in a loop from 1 to 1,000,000,000. "Fortran programs do mostly number crunching."
2. To reduce the size of a file without losing information by a scheme such as Huffman coding. Since such lossless compression usually takes more computations than simpler methods such as run-length encoding, the term is doubly appropriate.
3. The hash character. Used at XEROX and CMU, among other places.
4. To squeeze program source to the minimum size that will still compile or execute. The term came from a BBC Microcomputer program that crunched BBC BASIC source in order to make it run more quickly (apart from storing keywords as byte codes, the language was wholly interpreted, so the number of characters mattered). Obfuscated C Contest entries are often crunched; see the first example under that entry.
[Jargon File]

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

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for crunch

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for crunch

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for crunch