Definition of crumble in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkrʌmb(ə)l/


[no object]
1Break or fall apart into small fragments, especially 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.
disintegrate, fall down, fall to pieces, fall apart, collapse, break down/up, tumble down, fragment;
decay, fall into decay, deteriorate, degenerate, go to rack and ruin, decompose, rot, rot away, come apart at the seams, moulder, perish, come to dust
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.
crush, grind, break up, pulverize, pound, powder, granulate, fragment
technical triturate, comminute
archaic levigate, bray, powderize
1.2(Of something abstract) 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.


[mass noun] British
1A mixture of flour and fat that is rubbed to the texture of breadcrumbs and cooked as a topping for fruit: sprinkle the crumble over the rhubarb
More 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 pudding made with crumble and fruit: apple crumble
More example sentences
  • Was there much demand for the coriander and carrot soup, fruit crumble or rice pudding with peaches?
  • Ice cream for the children, shared apple and blackberry crumble for my wife and me, while my parents shared a sherry and raspberry trifle.
  • There was also an apple crumble and custard for dessert.


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

Line breaks: crum¦ble

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