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1. Trash, debris, or other unwanted matter that accumulates over time.
2. Unnecessary digital information that accumulates over time, such as unneeded files or obsolete lines of code in software: "By removing cruft, you can recover valuable disk space ... and reduce the chance of software conflicts" (Joe Kissell).
[Originally 1950s Massachusetts Institute of Technology students' slang, perhaps after Cruft Hall (the informal name for Cruft Laboratory, a building on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the physics department stored unused technical equipment), humorously taken as "hall of cruft" (perhaps influenced by crud and crust).]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
(Biography) Charles. 1852–1938, British dog breeder, who organized the first (1886) of the annual dog shows known as Cruft's
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014