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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of crumble in a Sentence


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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The conservation-minded approach, known as upcycling, has roots in ancient Mesopotamia, where some of the world’s earliest brewers used crumbled bread to make beer. David Yaffe-bellany, New York Times, "Drink a Pint, Waste Less Food," 3 July 2019 When the potato packets are done, place them in a large bowl and gently toss with the dressing and the cooked and crumbled bacon. Jessica Yadegaran, The Mercury News, "Fourth of July recipe: Grilled Jalapeno, Corn and Idaho Potato Salad," 1 July 2019 With a rare level of insight, empathy and detail, the Australian singer-songwriter explores the uncomfortable truths revealed by a crumbling relationship. Greg Kot,, "Greg Kot picks his top 10 albums of the year so far," 26 June 2019 And just so everyone who eats it will get the memo, the whole dish is topped with crumbled sour cream and onion potato chips (plus, who doesn't want a crunchy, crispy add on?). Emma Wartzman, Bon Appétit, "Wait, Can I Substitute Onion Powder for Fresh Onions?," 26 June 2019 Upgrading the ferry’s aging and crumbling infrastructure is essential in protecting the safety of passengers, but also connecting these two communities. Kathleen Mcwilliams,, "Rocky Hill Ferry, Chester-Hadlyme Ferry to see $4 million in repairs," 26 June 2019 Motherhood forced me to become an early riser, and my self-care habits crumbled. Minhae Shim Roth, Glamour, "Lash Extensions Make Me a Better Mom," 20 June 2019 Vega’s mother would serve it the classic way as a hard-shell tostada dish with refried beans as the base topped with chicken tinga, shredded lettuce, crema, avocado slices and some crumbled Cotija cheese. San Diego Union-Tribune, "The Dish: Welcome summer at Scoop San Diego’s inaugural ice cream festival," 20 June 2019 Clearly just wasn't our year, but that's how the cookie crumbles sometimes. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "Warriors' future uncertain following Finals loss, injuries to Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant," 14 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Make a frittata with tons of herbs, gently sautéed green onions and crumbles of feta. Martha Holmberg, Washington Post, "How to push fresh herbs beyond the garnish: Use with abundance and abandon," 5 July 2019 Sprinkle the crumble over the pies, place on a baking sheet, and transfer to the oven. Wolfgang Puck, Twin Cities, "Wolfgang Puck: Make a special dessert for Dad on his special day," 12 June 2019 Someone makes succotash from the leftover corn, some tomatoes and bread become a panzanella, and the last of the marionberries get used in a crumble and infused into a whiskey cocktail. Alec Scott, Sunset Magazine, "Lake Effect: On Reviving a Family Tradition with Your Closest Friends," 22 Jan. 2018 The industry disagrees that potent products like crumble, budder and crystalline are a danger, saying additional studies are needed. Jennifer Oldham, Anchorage Daily News, "In first states to legalize pot, teen use triggers concerns," 17 June 2019 Sprinkle with some of the cacao nib crumble before serving. Ben Mims,, "Culinary SOS: Botanica’s Gluten-Free Buckwheat Brownies," 5 June 2019 Toasted dulse, which has been called the bacon of the sea, goes in crumbles over everything. Tamar Adler, Vogue, "Is Seaweed the Perfect Food?," 15 Feb. 2019 Also highlighted is a filling bone broth soup ($14) with ramen noodles, greens, a marinated egg and crumbles of sausage made with fresh pork and Benton’s country ham. Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, "Lazy Bear team ventures into unknown territory with True Laurel," 16 Feb. 2018 The crumble can be completed up to 4 days ahead and stored in the fridge. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "The Hot and Hearty Pie Recipes to Kick Off Autumn in Your Kitchen," 21 Sep. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about crumble

Statistics for crumble

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for crumble

The first known use of crumble was in 1547

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for crumble



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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on crumble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with crumble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crumble

Spanish Central: Translation of crumble

Nglish: Translation of crumble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crumble for Arabic Speakers

Comments on crumble

What made you want to look up crumble? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!