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[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.
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for crumbled
  • Their regional chieftaincies, each headed by a leader known as a cacique, crumbled away.
  • Then the kids grew up and moved out and, independently of that, my marriage crumbled.
  • No doubt these fragments evoked the crumbled colossi of the ancient world.
  • The ivory tower crumbled, along with the campus infrastructure.
  • The cookie could have crumbled differently, is my point.
  • However, untold manuscripts have also rotted and crumbled and burned on paper.
  • As a result of bipartisan belief in the fiction of benevolent austerity, the faculty infrastructure has crumbled.
  • Previous claims for dark galaxies have crumbled after observations using optical telescopes ultimately revealed resident stars.
  • He was giving the checkers to his cronies while things crumbled around him.
  • He also thinks that as the roof of the rock shelter crumbled over time, falling rocks smashed the bones.
British Dictionary definitions for crumbled


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 crumbled



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 crumbled
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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