Also found in: Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


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).]

cruft′y adj.
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
References in periodicals archive ?
The show was founded by Charles Cruft, who worked for a dog biscuit manufacturer.
The man who started it all in 1891 was Charles Cruft, who didn't want to join the family jewellery business, so worked with James Spratt in Holborn, London, selling dog biscuits.
"It has changed in ways that couldn't possibly have been imagined when the show was set up by the late Charles Cruft," says Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club secretary.
Crufts was founded in the Victorian era by Charles Cruft - with the inaugural show attracting 2,437 entries to the Royal Agricultural Hall in Islington in 1891.
The job saw him working in Europe and he was invited by French dog breeders to organise the promotion of the canine section Charles Cruft in the 1878 Paris Exhibition.
Originally known as Cruft's, the show lost its apostrophe during a rebranding exercise in 1974.
A SEALYHAM Terrier won the Cruft's crown last night, ending months of controversy for the world famous dog show.
HIS relatives must have thought Charles Cruft was barking mad when he turned his back on the family jewellery business and went to London to sell "dog cakes".
Started by Charles Cruft in 1891, the show has been running for an impressive 123 years, and has seen more than 25,000 dogs compete.
The first show named Crufts - "Cruft's Greatest Dog Show"- was held at the Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington, in 1891.
Mark is urging dog owners to make sure their pets are up to date with all their worming and flea treatments as warmer weather approaches and is appearing at Cruft as part of his role as ambassador for The Inseparables campaign.
The show was founded by Charles Cruft - a travelling salesman who had a brainwave.