Definition of crisp in English:

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Pronunciation: /krɪsp/


1(Of a substance) firm, dry, and brittle: crisp bacon the snow is lovely and crisp
More example sentences
  • That and the fact that when all else fails, she spreads a dollop of honey over my slightly buttered, highly crisp slices of toast.
  • Another item that caught our eye was Wykeham Rarebit - smoked applewood cheese, topped with crisp bacon and salad garnish.
  • Tom and I dined together over plates of crisp bacon, toasted bread, strawberry jam, and poached eggs.
crunchy, crispy, brittle, crumbly, breakable, shatterable, friable, frangible;
rigid, hard;
well cooked, well done
1.1(Of a fruit or vegetable) firm and juicy: a crisp lettuce
More example sentences
  • It's a medium to large, red- and green-striped fruit with a crisp, juicy, sweetly tart taste.
  • I prefer, however, to enjoy the crisp, juicy fruits in the cool of the morning - right from the tree.
  • More importantly, enjoy the experience of eating fresh, crisp vegetables you grew yourself!
firm, fresh, unwilted, unwithered
1.2(Of paper or cloth) stiff and uncreased: £65 in crisp new notes
More example sentences
  • The girl's eyes widened at the sight of the crisp paper note being handed to her.
  • The dish was excellently presented on the crisp linen table cloth in plain white crockery with a Thai flower for decoration.
  • He could feel the letter's crisp paper in his coat pocket.
1.3(Of hair) having tight curls.
Example sentences
  • She felt the bare smooth skin of her stomach move against the dark crisp hair at the center of his body as he lifted her off the legs that nearly let her fall to the floor.
  • Muhammad was middle-sized, did not have lank or crisp hair, was not fat, had a white, circular face, wide black eyes and long eyelashes.
  • Her coat stood out full-length, conserving the warmth deep inside, with the tip of each hair seeming as crisp and sharp as the grass blades, and almost as cold.
2(Of the weather) cool, fresh, and invigorating: a crisp autumn day
More example sentences
  • The weather was crisp and cool, with the smell of woodsmoke in the air.
  • Practice had just ended, but the crisp weather of winter was quick to cool him down again.
  • The weather was crisp and fine but a cold head wind was encountered at the top end of the course.
brisk, bracing, fresh, refreshing, invigorating, stimulating, energizing, exhilarating, rousing, fortifying, tonic;
keen, raw, biting, cool, cold, chilly
informal pick-me-up, nippy
British informal parky
literary chill
3(Of a way of speaking) briskly decisive and matter-of-fact, without hesitation or unnecessary detail: her answer was crisp
More example sentences
  • He wrote short crisp letters with a decisive position on all questions at hand.
  • Some years ago, I was in Judge Gladys Kessler's courtroom and admired the crisp decisiveness of her judicial temperament.
  • Matthews is a technician who lacks classic arm strength but runs the offense to perfection with crisp decisionmaking.
terse, succinct, concise, brief, short, short and sweet, tight, taut, incisive, pithy, epigrammatic, aphoristic, elliptical;
laconic, sparing;
precise, clear, clear-cut, explicit, unambiguous, straightforward
informal snappy
rare lapidary, compendious, synoptic, gnomic
brusque, brisk, vigorous, decisive, businesslike, no-nonsense, curt, blunt, short, sharp, snappy, snappish, abrupt, to the point, frank, plain-spoken, bald, brutal, indelicate, unceremonious, cavalier, offhand, gruff, rough, harsh, caustic, abrasive;
pulling no punches, not mincing one's words, not beating about the bush, calling a spade a spade, speaking one's mind
informal upfront, straight from the shoulder


1 (also potato crisp) British A wafer-thin slice of potato fried or baked until crisp and eaten as a snack: cut down on fatty snacks such as crisps
More example sentences
  • Turn a potato into a potato crisp and you have gone from something with a tiny profit margin to a problematic foodstuff that has an enormous one.
  • Found in certain brands of potato crisp, it works because the body cannot absorb it.
  • I got off the coach with other passengers and was about 10 yards from the coach when I had the misfortune to slip on a discarded, shiny potato crisp packet.
2A dessert of fruit baked with a crunchy topping of brown sugar, butter, and flour: rhubarb crisp
More example sentences
  • Finally, when it comes to desserts, try the easy summer fruit cobblers and crisps on page 98.
  • Next came mofongo in a timbale of mashed plantains with breadfruit crisp.
  • The lavender berry crisp on page 159 won high praise from all of us lucky enough to taste it warm from the oven.


[with object]
1Give (food) a crisp surface by placing it in an oven or under a grill: crisp the pitta in the oven
More example sentences
  • Devon was evacuating because he'd crisped himself like bacon.
  • All that's left to do is give the confit legs a quick blast in the oven to crisp up the skin, sauté some greens and you're off.
  • Then you let the potatoes rest while you raise the heat of the oil and fry them again, briefly, to crisp up the outer surface.
1.1 [no object] (Of food) develop a crisp surface in an oven or under a grill: open the foil so that the bread browns and crisps
More example sentences
  • Less lettuce would have worked if the lonesome anchovy had been whizzed into the dressing and the bacon crisped up before serving.
  • Mrs. Donovan caught the aroma of broiling steak, bacon crisping in a frying pan, and onion slices sautéing with fresh mushrooms in butter from where she was relaxing in the basement.
  • They are now nicely browned and crisped and just need to be plated up with some coriander, tomatoes, baby onions (which have been soaked with beetroot in white wine vinegar for a week) and drizzled with curry oil.
2 archaic Curl (something) into short, stiff, wavy folds or crinkles: there is a cooling breeze which crisps the broad clear river
More example sentences
  • I stared: the fur covering the left side of his face, chest and left arm was crisped to short curls.


burn something to a crisp

Burn something completely, leaving only a charred remnant: it is better to cook it slowly than to burn it to a crisp
More example sentences
  • As for my fear of the sun, well, only an idiot will stay out in the sun until they are burnt to a crisp.
  • When I emptied the chocolate into the bin the surface of the chocolate looked okay but underneath it was burnt to a crisp.
  • For some reason, the Batards burnt the bread to a crisp.



Pronunciation: /ˈkrɪspnəs/
Example sentences
  • The crust has a substantial weight and nice crispness.
  • The Dublin-based writer has taken an age-old story and created a new perspective that sparkles with a crispness of writing that is breathtaking.
  • She can speak on any subject with such charm, clarity, crispness and conviction that her audiences are just hypnotised by her erudition and elegant eloquence.


Old English (referring to hair in the sense 'curly'): from Latin crispus 'curled'. Other senses may result from symbolic interpretation of the sound of the word.

  • To the Anglo-Saxons curly or frizzy hair was crisp. The word comes from Latin crispus ‘curled’. It started to be used to mean ‘brittle’ in the early 16th century, though it is not entirely clear why. Potato crisps first appeared under that name during the 1920s. The first edible crisps, though, were described in medieval cookery books and were crisp pastries made by dropping batter into boiling fat. Crisp was also an old term for the ‘crackling’ of roast pork, and this may be the sense behind the phrase burned to a crisp.

Words that rhyme with crisp

lisp, will-o'-the-wisp, wisp

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: crisp

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