verb (used with object)
to crush with the teeth; chew with a crushing noise.
to crush or grind noisily.
to tighten or squeeze financially: The administration's policy seems to crunch the economy in order to combat inflation.
verb (used without object)
to chew with a crushing sound.
to produce, or proceed with, a crushing noise.
an act or sound of crunching.
a shortage or reduction of something needed or wanted: the energy crunch.
distress or depressed conditions due to such a shortage or reduction: a budget crunch.
a critical or dangerous situation: When the crunch comes, just do your best.
crunch numbers, Computers.
to perform a great many numerical calculations or extensive manipulations of numerical data.
to process a large amount of data.
Also, craunch.

1795–1805; blend of craunch and crush

crunchable, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
crunch (krʌntʃ)
1.  to bite or chew (crisp foods) with a crushing or crackling sound
2.  to make or cause to make a crisp or brittle sound: the snow crunched beneath his feet
3.  the sound or act of crunching
4.  short for abdominal crunch
5.  informal the crunch the critical moment or situation
6.  informal critical; decisive: crunch time
[C19: changed (through influence of munch) from earlier craunch, of imitative origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1814, from craunch (1630s), probably of imitative origin. The noun is 1836, from the verb; the sense of "critical moment" was popularized by Winston Churchill, whose first recorded use of it was in 1939.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

crunch definition

1. To process, usually in a time-consuming or complicated way. Connotes an essentially trivial operation that is nonetheless painful to perform. The pain may be due to the triviality's being embedded in a loop from 1 to 1,000,000,000. "Fortran programs do mostly number crunching."
2. To reduce the size of a file without losing information by a scheme such as Huffman coding. Since such lossless compression usually takes more computations than simpler methods such as run-length encoding, the term is doubly appropriate.
3. The hash character. Used at XEROX and CMU, among other places.
4. To squeeze program source to the minimum size that will still compile or execute. The term came from a BBC Microcomputer program that crunched BBC BASIC source in order to make it run more quickly (apart from storing keywords as byte codes, the language was wholly interpreted, so the number of characters mattered). Obfuscated C Contest entries are often crunched; see the first example under that entry.
[Jargon File]
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
In these lean times fewer cows conceive, and fewer calves survive the crucial
  crunch of summer before the deadening of winter.
Pods are tasty in stir fries, and they add crunch to salads.
More jam flavors the buttercream frosting, and sliced almonds add crunch.
Store-bought meringue cookies add crunch, while pistachios lace the layers with
  nutty sweetness.
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