Definition of crumble in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkrəmbəl/


[no object]
1Break or fall apart into small fragments, especially over a period of time as part of a process of deterioration: the plaster started to crumble (as adjective crumbling) their crumbling ancestral home
More example sentences
  • The residents say the condition of the barracks is deteriorating with the wall crumbling away and the railing falling down.
  • Once state-of-the-art post-war buildings were crumbling away, with leaky roofs and rotting window frames.
  • Before long the monument was lying fenced off and forgotten in overgrown woodland, slowly crumbling away.
1.1 [with object] Cause (something) to break apart into small fragments: the easiest way to crumble blue cheese
More example sentences
  • Or just crumble blue cheese, bacon or mushroom over the top.
  • Using your fingers and thumbs, crumble the remaining mixture all over the top, covering as evenly as possible.
  • Sprinkle the demerara sugar and rosemary over the top then crumble the remaining mixture over to more or less cover.
1.2(Of an organization, relationship, or structure) disintegrate gradually over a period of time: the party’s fragile unity began to crumble
More example sentences
  • The tourists are still coming in their droves, to gawk at the city's crumbling, period elegance.
  • Yet it is widely known that much of the public-sector spending has resulted in substandard infrastructure that has crumbled within a short period of time.
  • His cool character gradually starts to crumble, however, as his precious writing quills are taken away.


1A mixture of flour and butter that is rubbed to the texture of breadcrumbs and cooked as a topping for fruit.
Example sentences
  • Sprinkle this crumble mixture over the fruit, patting down gently - don't pack it down too firmly.
  • The ingredients of a modern crumble are flour, butter, and sugar; a little spice is sometimes added.
  • Sprinkle with the crumble mixture, but do not press it down as this will take away the lightness of the dish.
1.1A dessert made with crumble and a particular fruit: rhubarb crumble
More example sentences
  • We couldn't resist the home-made bread and butter pudding and the rhubarb and ginger crumble.


Late Middle English: probably from an Old English word related to crumb.

Words that rhyme with crumble

bumble, fumble, grumble, humble, jumble, mumble, rough-and-tumble, rumble, scumble, stumble, tumble, umbel

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: crum·ble

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