Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.
v. crum·bled, crum·bling, crum·bles
To break into small fragments or pieces: I crumbled the cheese into the salad.
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.
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.]
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.