verb (used with object)
  1. to press into small regular folds; make wavy.
  2. to curl (hair), especially with the use of a curling iron.
  3. to press or draw together, as the ends of something.
  4. to check, restrain, or inhibit; hinder: Production was crimped by a shortage of workers.
  5. Cookery.
    1. to pinch and press down the edges of (a pie crust), especially to seal together the top and bottom layers of pastry.
    2. to gash (the flesh of a live fish or of one just killed) with a knife to make more crisp when cooked.
  6. to produce a corrugated surface in; corrugate, as sheet metal, cardboard, etc.
  7. to bend (leather) into shape.
  8. Metalworking.
    1. to bend the edges of (skelp) before forming into a tube.
    2. to fold the edges of (sheet metal) to make a lock seam.
  1. the act of crimping.
  2. a crimped condition or form.
  3. Usually crimps. waves or curls, especially in hair that has been crimped or that displays a crimped pattern.
  4. the waviness of wool fibers as naturally grown on sheep.
  5. the waviness imparted to natural or synthetic fibers by weaving, knitting, plaiting, or other processes.
  6. a crease formed in sheet metal or plate metal to make the material less flexible or for fastening purposes.
  1. put a crimp in, to interfere with; hinder: His broken leg put a crimp in their vacation plans.

Origin of crimp

1350–1400; Middle English crympen, Old English gecrympan to curl, derivative of crump crooked
Related formscrimp·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for crimpers


Examples from the Web for crimpers

Historical Examples of crimpers

  • This shall crown Molly's hair freed from the crimpers when the one day of the week, Sunday, comes!

    The Woman Who Toils

    Mrs. John Van Vorst and Marie Van Vorst

  • If I dont get the crimpers Ime going to give up looking in the glass.

    Rebecca Mary

    Annie Hamilton Donnell

British Dictionary definitions for crimpers


verb (tr)
  1. to fold or press into ridges
  2. to fold and pinch together (something, such as the edges of two pieces of metal)
  3. to curl or wave (the hair) tightly, esp with curling tongs
  4. to decorate (the edge of pastry) by pinching with the fingers to give a fluted effect
  5. to gash (fish or meat) with a knife to make the flesh firmer and crisper when cooked
  6. to bend or mould (leather) into shape, as for shoes
  7. metallurgy to bend the edges of (a metal plate) before forming into a cylinder
  8. informal, mainly US to hinder
  1. the act or result of folding or pressing together or into ridges
  2. a tight wave or curl in the hair
  3. a crease or fold in a metal sheet
  4. the natural wave of wool fibres
Derived Formscrimper, 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


  1. (formerly) a person who swindled or pressganged men into naval or military service
  1. 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

Word Origin and History for crimpers



1630s; Old English had gecrympan "to crimp, curl," but the modern word probably is from Middle Dutch or Low German crimpen/krimpen "to shrink, crimp." Related: Crimped; crimping.



1863, from crimp (v.). Originally "natural curl in wool fiber." To put a crimp in (something) is 1896, U.S. slang.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper