verb (used with object), crum·bled, crum·bling.

to break into small fragments or crumbs.

verb (used without object), crum·bled, crum·bling.

to fall into small pieces; break or part into small fragments.
to decay or disintegrate gradually: The ancient walls had crumbled.


a crumbly or crumbled substance.
crumbles, bits of crisp bacon, bread, etc., added to other foods, especially as a topping.
British Dialect. crumb; particle; fragment.

Origin of crumble

1375–1425; earlier crymble, crimble; late Middle English kremelen, akin to crome crumb; see -le
Related formscrum·bling·ness, nounhalf-crum·bled, adjectiveun·crum·bled, adjective

Synonyms for crumble Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for crumble

Contemporary Examples of crumble

Historical Examples of crumble

  • With every lurch of her feet, Andrew expected to feel her crumble beneath him.

  • It seemed too bright for a thing formed of dust, and doomed to crumble into dust again.

    Sylph Etherege

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Not yet to be, and nevertheless to crumble away in this fashion under the sky!

  • And if he did, are these walls that will crumble at a few cannon-shots?


    Raphael Sabatini

  • Is it in this wise that a house noble for centuries is to crumble into ruin?

    The Fortunes Of Glencore

    Charles James Lever

British Dictionary definitions for crumble



to break or be broken into crumbs or fragments
(intr) to fall apart or awayhis resolution crumbled


British a baked pudding consisting of a crumbly mixture of flour, fat, and sugar over stewed fruitapple crumble

Word Origin for crumble

C16: variant of crimble, of Germanic origin; compare Low German krömeln, Dutch kruimelen
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 crumble

late 15c., kremelen, from Old English *crymelan, presumed frequentative of gecrymman "to break into crumbs," from cruma (see crumb). The -b- is 16c., probably on analogy of French-derived words like humble, where it belongs, or by influence of crumb. Related: Crumbled; crumbling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with crumble


see that's how the ball bounces (cookie crumbles).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.