9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[kruhm-buh l] /ˈkrʌm bəl/
verb (used with object), crumbled, crumbling.
to break into small fragments or crumbs.
verb (used without object), crumbled, crumbling.
to fall into small pieces; break or part into small fragments.
to decay or disintegrate gradually:
The ancient walls had crumbled.
a crumbly or crumbled substance.
crumbles, bits of crisp bacon, bread, etc., added to other foods, especially as a topping.
British Dialect. crumb; particle; fragment.
Origin of crumble
late Middle English
1375-1425; earlier crymble, crimble; late Middle English kremelen, akin to crome crumb; see -le
Related forms
crumblingness, noun
half-crumbled, adjective
uncrumbled, adjective
1. mash, shatter. 2. disintegrate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for crumble
  • crumble tomato into grinder and grind to a fine powder.
  • As the leaves crumble, leaf fragments fall to the ground.
  • For example, nests may fall because they were built too rapidly, or may crumble because of prolonged wet or humid weather.
  • When approached from the top, the vertical edge of a highwall may not be seen in time or may crumble, leading to a fatal fall.
  • Take away one piece of an antique political structure, and perhaps other pieces will crumble, too.
  • These anecdotes you present don't even sound reasonable on the surface, and crumble under the slightest scrutiny.
  • Damage their ego, and the whole tower begins to crumble.
  • Art and attention are turned inward, as personal expression flourishes in new media and old public spaces crumble.
  • Huddled in a tight formation, they wolf down bowls of rhubarb crumble.
  • It would be foolish to attempt to tie a structure to a sandy rock that would crumble at the first strong pull from the anchor.
British Dictionary definitions for crumble


to break or be broken into crumbs or fragments
(intransitive) to fall apart or away: his resolution crumbled
(Brit) a baked pudding consisting of a crumbly mixture of flour, fat, and sugar over stewed fruit: apple crumble
Word Origin
C16: variant of crimble, of Germanic origin; compare Low German krömeln, Dutch kruimelen
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for crumble

late 15c., kremelen, from Old English *crymelan, presumed frequentative of gecrymman "to break into crumbs," from cruma (see crumb). The -b- is 16c., probably on analogy of French-derived words like humble, where it belongs, or by influence of crumb. Related: Crumbled; crumbling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with crumble
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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