crumbled


Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.

crum·ble

 (krŭm′bəl)
v. crum·bled, crum·bling, crum·bles
v.tr.
To break into small fragments or pieces: I crumbled the cheese into the salad.
v.intr.
1. To fall into small fragments or pieces; disintegrate: The ancient castle had crumbled to ruins.
2. To give way; collapse: an ego that crumbles under pressure.
n.
1. A baked dessert of fruit topped with a crumbly pastry mixture: cherry crumble.
2. The crumbly mixture on top of such a dessert.

[Alteration (influenced by crumb) of Middle English cremelen, from Old English *crymelen, frequentative of gecrymmian, to break into crumbs, from cruma, crumb.]
References in classic literature ?
And, midway, he dug down through the red volcanic earth that had washed from the disintegrating hill above, until he uncovered quartz, rotten quartz, that broke and crumbled in his hands and showed to be alive with free gold.
The wood-fire had crumbled into heavy embers, among which the little flames danced, and quivered, and sported about like fairies.
All markets were glutted; all markets were falling; and amidst the general crumble of prices the price of labor crumbled fastest of all.
The Wall Street* group turned the stock market into a maelstrom where the values of all the land crumbled away almost to nothingness.
Again the ashes slipped and rolled--very, very softly--again--and then again, as though they crumbled underneath the tread of a stealthy foot.
He is haunted from out the crumbled palaces of vanished kings, where "in the form of blue flames one sees spirits moving through each dark recess." He is haunted by the traditional voices of the old masters of his craft, and lastly, more than all, by the dead women and men of his race, the ancestors that count in the making of his composite soul and have their silent say in every action, thought, and impulse of his life.
We have only the written words of those who have gone before, to show us the cities and the empires that have been, to teach us the reasons why they decayed and crumbled away.