[ krimp ]
/ krɪmp /
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See synonyms for: crimp / crimped / crimper on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
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Idioms about crimp

    put a crimp in, to interfere with; hinder: His broken leg put a crimp in their vacation plans.

Origin of crimp

First recorded before 900; Middle English crympen, crimpen “to contract together,” Old English gecrympan “to curl,” derivative of crump “crooked”; see also cramp1


crimper, noun

Other definitions for crimp (2 of 2)

[ krimp ]
/ krɪmp /

a person engaged in enlisting sailors, soldiers, etc., by persuasion, swindling, or coercion.
verb (used with object)
to enlist (sailors, soldiers, etc.) by such means.

Origin of crimp

First recorded in 1630–40; special use of crimp1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does crimp mean?

Crimp most commonly means to press into small folds or ridges or to make wavy (as can be done to hair), or to pinch together or press down the edges of something (as is done with the edges of pie crust).

Crimp can be used as a verb in many other specific ways that are similar to these general senses. It can also be used as a noun referring to something in the shape of a wave or a small fold, as in corrugated metal or hair that’s been crimped.

Crimp can also mean to hinder or inhibit, especially to make a process less efficient. It can also be used as a noun meaning something that’s a hindrance or impediment, especially in the phrase put a crimp in, as in The driver shortage is really going to put a crimp in our delivery system. 

Example: Crimping the edges of the pie crust before you bake it will make it look nice, but more importantly it will prevent juices from the filling from bubbling out.

Where does oeuvre come from?

The first records of crimp in English come from the 1300s. It comes from the Old English gecrympan, meaning “to curl.” This word is derived from crump, meaning “crooked.”

Hair can be curled using a curling iron, but it can be crimped using another type of iron that produces small, angular waves. Hair crimping was particularly popular in the 1980s (but it still looks rad). Pie crust dough is crimped by hand. You use your fingers to pinch a wavy pattern around the edge. A similar crimping technique is used to seal together the two sheets of dough that form a dumpling.

A lot of other things can be crimped. When you put a crimp in a piece of metal, it’s often to make it less flexible or so that two two pieces will hold together. Sometimes, this is done with a special tool called a crimper, a crimping tool, or crimping pliers.

All of these meanings involving pinching and creasing led to a metaphorical sense: to put a crimp in something is to disrupt or restrict it. Road work puts a crimp in your commute. Unemployment puts a crimp in consumer spending.

Crimp is also an old slang term referring to a person who “persuades” (swindles) people into naval or military service. It can also be used as a verb meaning to do so. It has fallen out of use, hopefully because everyone agrees it’s best to keep the crimping to hair and pie crusts.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to crimp?

  • crimpy (adjective)
  • crimped (adjective, past tense verb)
  • crimper (noun)
  • uncrimped (adjective, verb)
  • recrimped (adjective, verb)

What are some synonyms for crimp?

What are some words that share a root or word element with crimp

What are some words that often get used in discussing crimp?


How is crimp used in real life?

Crimp appears in all kinds of contexts involving folds, ridges, waves, and things being pinched together. It’s especially used in the contexts of hair and pie crust, as well as in the phrase put a crimp in something.



Try using oeuvre!

Which of the following words would NOT be used to describe something that’s crimped

A. creased
B. straight
C. wavy
D. pinched

How to use crimp in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for crimp (1 of 2)

/ (krɪmp) /

verb (tr)

Derived forms of crimp

crimper, nouncrimpy, adjective

Word Origin for crimp

Old English crympan; related to crump bent, Old Norse kreppa to contract, Old High German crumpf, Old Swedish crumb crooked; see cramp 1

British Dictionary definitions for crimp (2 of 2)

/ (krɪmp) /

(formerly) a person who swindled or pressganged men into naval or military service
to recruit by coercion or under false pretences

Word Origin for crimp

C17: of unknown 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