See more synonyms for crunch on
verb (used with object)
  1. to crush with the teeth; chew with a crushing noise.
  2. to crush or grind noisily.
  3. to tighten or squeeze financially: The administration's policy seems to crunch the economy in order to combat inflation.
verb (used without object)
  1. to chew with a crushing sound.
  2. to produce, or proceed with, a crushing noise.
  1. an act or sound of crunching.
  2. a shortage or reduction of something needed or wanted: the energy crunch.
  3. distress or depressed conditions due to such a shortage or reduction: a budget crunch.
  4. a critical or dangerous situation: When the crunch comes, just do your best.
  1. 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 formscrunch·a·ble, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for crunch

Contemporary Examples of crunch

Historical Examples of crunch

  • Then she heard the crunch of his footsteps in the dry leaves behind the Cabin.

    The Vagrant Duke

    George Gibbs

  • There was the sound of jingling harness and the crunch of runners.

  • Come here, graze about my head, let me hear you crunch the grass.

    Debts of Honor

    Maurus Jkai

  • Nepcote heard the crunch of their feet on the gravel as they passed.

    The Hand in the Dark

    Arthur J. Rees

  • The crunch of the brougham brought his ceaseless march over the carpet to an end.


    John Galsworthy

British Dictionary definitions for crunch


  1. to bite or chew (crisp foods) with a crushing or crackling sound
  2. to make or cause to make a crisp or brittle soundthe snow crunched beneath his feet
  1. the sound or act of crunching
  2. short for abdominal crunch
  3. the crunch informal the critical moment or situation
  1. informal critical; decisivecrunch time
Also called: craunch
Derived Formscrunchable, adjectivecrunchy, adjectivecrunchily, adverbcrunchiness, noun

Word Origin for crunch

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

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