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  1. a small particle of bread, cake, etc., that has broken off.
  2. a small particle or portion of anything; fragment; bit.
  3. the soft inner portion of a bread (distinguished from crust).
  4. crumbs, a cake topping made of sugar, flour, butter, and spice, usually crumbled on top of the raw batter and baked with the cake.
  5. Slang. a contemptibly objectionable or worthless person.
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verb (used with object)
  1. Cookery. to dress or prepare with crumbs.
  2. to break into crumbs or small fragments.
  3. to remove crumbs from: The waiter crumbed the table.
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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 formscrumb·a·ble, adjectivecrumb·er, nounde·crumb, verb (used with object)

Synonyms for crumb

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for crumbs

snippet, jot, speck, dab, pinch, scrap, drop, particle, dash, dram, atom, shred, grain, seed, mite, smidgen, iota, sliver, ounce

Examples from the Web for crumbs

Contemporary Examples of crumbs

Historical Examples of crumbs

British Dictionary definitions for crumbs


  1. slang an expression of dismay or surprise
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Word Origin for crumbs

C20: euphemistic for Christ!


  1. a small fragment of bread, cake, or other baked foods
  2. a small piece or bitcrumbs of information
  3. the soft inner part of bread
  4. slang a contemptible person
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  1. (tr) to prepare or cover (food) with breadcrumbs
  2. to break into small fragments
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  1. (esp of pie crusts) made with a mixture of biscuit crumbs, sugar, etc
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Derived Formscrumber, noun

Word Origin for crumb

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

Word Origin and History for crumbs



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper