Meaning of crumble in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkrʌmbl/

See synonyms for crumble

Translate crumble into Spanish


[no object]
  • 1Break or fall apart into small fragments, especially as part of a process of deterioration.

    ‘the plaster started to crumble’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The stern of the boat crackled and crumbled, finally breaking off and falling with an enormous splash into the ocean.’
    • ‘Many were crumbling and falling in on themselves because of the massive artillery barrage that had taken place.’
    • ‘Near the exit, the ceiling started crumbling and falling on top of the room, much to their horror.’
    • ‘To be sure it's all right to dig, take a handful of garden soil and squeeze it in your hand; if it clumps up, it's too wet to work; if it crumbles and falls away, go ahead.’
    • ‘Behind him stones fell and crumbled into the heap.’
    • ‘Instantly she rushed up the steps, the only parts that hadn't crumbled and fallen.’
    • ‘He cast his gaze over the building, watching the brick as it crumbled and dust fell from the once elegant upper landing.’
    • ‘He dug his small hands into the rock and dirt, watching bits crumble off and fall into the void of absolute nothingness below him.’
    • ‘As the three of them walked, they saw old statues and buildings, broken, dusty and crumbling.’
    • ‘There were different markings on the pillars, now crumbling or already broken.’
    • ‘The envelope fragment was black and crumbling into ashes that fell within the creases of the notebook.’
    • ‘The 1940s workmen used cement mixed with granite fragments to replace crumbling medieval mortar, but that mixture has quickly eroded.’
    • ‘The salad is usually half mixed greens and half spinach with onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and maybe some crumbled blue cheese.’
    • ‘A national appeal has been launched after an architect's report revealed that over £4 million is needed to restore crumbling stonework.’
    • ‘Indeed, the town's official website, while extolling all manner of museums and crumbling cultural artifacts, doesn't mention the nightlife at all.’
    • ‘‘These grants will ensure problems such as leaky roofs and crumbling masonry are nipped in the bud,’ he added.’
    • ‘In that room you breathed books, that musty paper odor of yellowing pages and crumbling bindings.’
    disintegrate, fall down, fall to pieces, fall apart, collapse, break down, break up, tumble down, fragment
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Cause (something) to break apart into small fragments.
      ‘the easiest way to crumble blue cheese’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With one last pant, Nyerel ground with her plough into the rock-solid ground, crumbling the earth.’
      crush, grind, break up, pulverize, pound, powder, granulate, fragment
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2(of something abstract) disintegrate gradually over a period of time.
      ‘the party's fragile unity began to crumble’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When the sugar industry started to crumble, Denmark began looking for buyers.’
      • ‘What had once seemed an unbreakable resolve - the hallmark of strong leadership - has begun to crumble at the edges.’
      • ‘But as the perfect family picture begins to crumble, each character's terrible secret is revealed.’
      • ‘By the time I had recovered, at the end of the 1980s, I think my link with music had begun to crumble once and for all.’
      • ‘Making the mistake of taking a breath, my resolve crumbled and tears began to stream silently down my face.’
      • ‘The peaceful responsibility free life I had led until then slowly began to crumble around me, and I was too ignorant and in my own little world to notice it.’
      • ‘The relative ease with which the Stalinist edifice began to crumble after 1989 caught most observers off-guard.’
      • ‘As central authority began to crumble, they rose in revolt across France and wrested self-government for their communities.’
      • ‘As history dictates, every empire crumbles and falls eventually.’
      • ‘There are great fears he will strike out with terrible weapons as his regime crumbles and then falls.’
      • ‘That the mission is crumbling away is no surprise to anyone who has watched events unfold.’
      • ‘I should be looking forward to the prospect of the future, yet I continue to be scared and cling on to a past that crumbled apart a long time ago.’
      • ‘Government figures have revealed there is a massive backlog of repairs to crumbling health service buildings across the country.’


mass noun
  • 1British A 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the fruit, and bake for 50 minutes to an hour.’
    • ‘In this splendidly moist cake, a layer of cooked rhubarb lurks beneath a sweetly spiced crumble topping.’
    • ‘Make the crumble by blitzing the flour and butter in the processor till they look like fine breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar.’
    • ‘Tip on top of the fruit and bake till the fruit is bubbling under the pale, golden crumble.’
    • ‘Distribute the crumble mixture evenly on top, and place a parsley leave in the center.’
    • ‘Jayne's vegetable crumble, which consisted of mushrooms, carrots and broccoli in a creamy sauce topped with crumble and almonds, was equally as delicious.’
    • ‘Then I creamed a largish lump of butter into the flour and sugar mixture, worked it in with a spoon until it was all absorbed, and then poured the crumble mixture over the fruit.’
    • ‘Finger-sized pieces of rhubarb sat enticingly in a shortbread-like pastry case, with a sprinkling of almond crumble on top.’
    • ‘To make the crumble, put the flour, oatmeal, oat cereal and sugar into a food processor and blend for 30 seconds.’
    • ‘Sprinkle a thick layer of the crumble mixture on top of the fruit.’
    • ‘The mousse was the better of the two, primarily because the richness of the chocolate was nicely offset by the coulis, but also because my crumble was so dry that it was a trial to munch through it to the raspberries underneath.’
    1. 1.1A pudding made with crumble and fruit.
      ‘apple crumble’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I do love blackberry, apple and blackcurrant crumble, but not five nights in a row…’
      • ‘My speciality is a banana and pear crumble, with lots and lots of butter.’
      • ‘We filled the tub with ripe fruit, and tonight it will join our windfalls in an apple and blackberry crumble.’
      • ‘We managed to resist desserts such as homemade apple, mango and berry crumble but succumbed to the temptation of Irish Coffee which, I might add, made me sleepy.’
      • ‘Actually, this whole nonsense reminded me of the day The Girl and I brought home a frozen apple crumble thing the other week.’
      • ‘With blackcurrants and blackberries in a crumble laced with custard served out of my big Cornish Blue jug.’
      • ‘One of our choices was an apple crumble, which brilliantly combined sweet and tart tastes, together with vanilla parfait and toffee sauce.’
      • ‘Winter and early spring are perfect for rhubarb crumble and custard, the sweet pink juices seeping through a golden buttery crust.’
      • ‘For pudding I'll serve rhubarb crumble - which I make with fresh ginger - and double cream, washed down with white wine.’
      • ‘For dessert we shared a crème brulée and a rhubarb and ginger crumble with ice cream.’
      • ‘My dessert of rhubarb and orange crumble with vanilla custard was perfect comfort food.’
      • ‘The dessert - apricot and mango crumble - was also made with special gluten-free flour.’
      • ‘They learned how to set up ingredients and equipment for baking and how to make brown bread, scones, fruit crumble and fairy cakes.’
      • ‘Closer to home, I use up any under-ripe fruit in a cinnamon crumble as a treat for the children.’
      • ‘I'd chosen the apple-and-bramble crumble, which the menu said came with a fresh cinnamon crème anglaise.’
      • ‘You can't compromise with crumble, though, and I was only willing to order it if it came with custard, which it didn't.’


Late Middle English probably from an Old English word related to crumb.