crum·​ble | \ ˈkrəm-bəl How to pronounce crumble (audio) \
crumbled; crumbling\ ˈkrəm-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce crumbling (audio) \

Definition of crumble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to break into small pieces

intransitive verb

1 : to fall into small pieces : disintegrate
2 : to break down completely : collapse marriages crumble



Definition of crumble (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something crumbled : fine debris

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Examples of crumble in a Sentence

Verb Crumble the cookies into small bits. The recipe calls for the herbs to be crumbled. bones so old they had crumbled to dust She was extremely depressed after her marriage crumbled.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As these accords crumble, so too do their intricate provisions for verification, such as inspections, data exchanges and, in the case of Open Skies, overflights. The Economist, "Flying blind Donald Trump abandons the Open Skies treaty," 21 May 2020 Street violence is common in the nation that has had nearly 5 million residents flee in recent years as public services crumble. NBC News, "At least 40 dead after riot erupts at Venezuelan prison," 2 May 2020 In that moment, as their family crumbled, Lexie, Trip, and Moody weren't just burning down their house. Samantha Highfill,, "Little Fires Everywhere boss breaks down the finale and who started the fire," 22 Apr. 2020 Energy prices and oil Energy prices remained subdued as investors appeared skeptical that a global deal to reduce oversupply will provide a long-term solution as demand crumbles during the pandemic lockdowns. Elaine Kurtenbach, ajc, "NEW: US stocks soar as plans take shape to reopen U.S. economy," 17 Apr. 2020 This poignant tragicomedy, about a beloved children’s television host (Jim Carrey) who strains to keep his brand intact as his personal life crumbles, has plenty of life left in it. Sara Aridi, New York Times, "What’s on TV Sunday: ‘Kidding’ and ‘The Outsider’," 8 Mar. 2020 That could lead to an infrastructure bill to remake the nation’s crumbling bridges and roadways, or a version of the Green New Deal to rewire energy infrastructure. Emily Barrett,, "Bernie Sanders’s Rise Spurs Re-Evaluation by Wall Street Detractors," 8 May 2020 In any case, Flat Creek Glacier isn't the only one that's recently crumbled. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "Warming Caused a Glacier in Alaska to Collapse," 4 May 2020 Why state systems falter Systems are crumbling due to their rigidity and age. Timmy Broderick, The Christian Science Monitor, "Jobless benefits are a lifeline – if the unemployed can get access," 23 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That’s when the method for these tofu crumbles came into our lives. Carla Lalli Music, Bon Appétit, "Vegetarian Cooking Can Feel Hard, But This Crispy Tofu Is Easy," 27 Feb. 2020 Desserts on offer are strawberry rhubarb crumble, carrot cake, New York cheesecake and chocolate silk pie. Ramona Saviss, The Hollywood Reporter, "Where to Order Easter Brunch and Dinner in Los Angeles," 3 Apr. 2020 Plate the pasta and finish it with the siphon of carbonara sauce and the bacon crumble. Alisha Prakash, Travel + Leisure, "18 Italian Hotel Chefs Share Their Favorite Recipes to Help You Get a Taste of Italy at Home," 6 Apr. 2020 And, there’s the Oreo pancakes topped with cookie crumbles and homemade cream cheese icing. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "Looking for great pancakes? Here are 17 breakfast restaurants to try in metro Phoenix," 18 Feb. 2020 Add onion and green pepper to skillet with cooked beef crumbles and continue to cook until vegetables soften slightly. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, "Super Bowl food: Easy twist on sloppy joes has a horseradish kick," 24 Jan. 2020 Top with fried eggs, tofu or tempeh crumbles, salsa, squeeze of lime, sliced avocado... Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, "Creamy Vegan Pasta…and 9 Other Ways to Turn a Can of Beans Into Dinner," 24 Feb. 2020 Months after the Berlin Wall began its final crumble, Gorbachev fumbled for a response, lost in the tides of transition already sweeping Central and Eastern Europe. Casey Michel, The New Republic, "NATO Is Expanding, and Everyone Is Curiously Silent," 16 Jan. 2020 There are recipes for cozy feasts — cottage pie, apple crumble — plus craft ideas and suggestions for comfy, layered outfits. Angela Haupt, Washington Post, "When it comes to happiness, Americans are doing it wrong. These books are here to help.," 15 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crumble.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of crumble


1547, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1860, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for crumble


alteration of Middle English kremelen, frequentative of Old English gecrymian to crumble, from cruma

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Time Traveler for crumble

Time Traveler

The first known use of crumble was in 1547

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Statistics for crumble

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Crumble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for crumble


How to pronounce crumble (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of crumble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to break (something) into small pieces
: to separate into many small pieces : to fall apart
: to break down completely : to stop functioning



English Language Learners Definition of crumble (Entry 2 of 2)

US : small pieces of something that has been crumbled


crum·​ble | \ ˈkrəm-bəl How to pronounce crumble (audio) \
crumbled; crumbling

Kids Definition of crumble

1 : to break into small pieces crumble bread
2 : to fall to pieces : fall into ruin Any moment these walls may crumble upon us …— Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee

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More from Merriam-Webster on crumble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crumble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with crumble

Spanish Central: Translation of crumble

Nglish: Translation of crumble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crumble for Arabic Speakers

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