Definition of crumble in English:


Syllabification: crum·ble
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
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    • 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.


British Back to top  
  • 1A mixture of flour and butter that is rubbed to the texture of breadcrumbs and cooked as a topping for fruit.
    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 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.

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