Definition of crumb in English:



  • 1A small fragment of bread, cake, or biscuit.

    ‘she brushed some cake crumbs off her dress’
    as modifier ‘a crispy crumb topping’
    • ‘Adam licked the last few crumbs of bread from his lips.’
    • ‘The little bird sang out again, and I rose and gave it a crumb of bread from the larder chest.’
    • ‘Wilhelm swallowed the last of the bread and dusted the crumbs from his hands.’
    • ‘They analyzed the remains of food left in tombs as offerings and the residues of beer and crumbs of bread encrusted on pottery shards and vessels.’
    • ‘My desk is now clear of cake crumbs, chocolate wrappers, crisp packets, coffee stains and assorted bits of paper that might or might not have had something to do with my job.’
    • ‘Put the biscuits in a large polythene bag and smash into fine crumbs with a rolling pin, or do this in a food processor.’
    • ‘So I continuously have chocolate cake crumbs on my head, my hair, my jumper, my collar, my shoulders, my eyelashes, my tummy, my lap…’
    • ‘Grind fresh whole-wheat bread in a food processor to make fresh crumbs.’
    • ‘In your food processor, reduce the chocolate butter cookies to crumbs.’
    • ‘He stood and brushed the crumbs of bread off of him, knowing well how difficult it would be to follow his own advice.’
    • ‘Process chocolate wafers into fine crumbs in a food processor fitted with a metal blade.’
    • ‘To make the stuffing, whiz the bread in a food processor until it forms fine crumbs.’
    • ‘She came here in the summer to watch the Canada Geese huddle around picnickers, waiting for one of them to toss a crumb of bread.’
    • ‘Angel held out an empty plate, with a fork and a few chocolate cake crumbs on it.’
    • ‘I turned around, looking where Thomas had sat just a moment before but now all that remained on the chair were a couple of crumbs of bread.’
    • ‘It looks good but when you cut into the cake it collapses into crumbs.’
    • ‘Rowena looked around at the wreck of her cake, at all the dirty dishes and the cake crumbs under the cooling racks.’
    • ‘Whiz the bread to rough crumbs in a food processor, or grate it by hand.’
    • ‘Crush the biscuits into a crumb texture, add the melted butter and mix together.’
    • ‘He picked dully at the cheesecake dish, which was now empty except for a few stray crust crumbs and bits of cake smeared about, wondering idly if one could read cheesecake smears like tea leaves.’
    bit, section, slice, chunk, segment, lump, hunk
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1mass noun The soft inner part of a loaf of bread.
      ‘a morsel of crumb will often tempt a chub’
      • ‘The key components in achieving a crusty bread with a lusciously soft crumb are heat and steam.’
      • ‘Cut off the end of the loaf and remove as much crumb as you can to make a fairly snug pocket.’
      • ‘A dusty orange color, spotted with crunchy hazelnuts and translucent golden raisins, the bread was tender and moist with a very delicate crumb.’
      • ‘We started with tremendous sourdough bread whose moist grey crumb, chewy crust and deep sustaining flavour would certainly attract compliments and loyalty even in France.’
      • ‘It is the smell of toast, and the sensations of the hot crunchy outside of the bread combined with the soft inner crumb and melted butter, that make it so appealing.’
      • ‘Simple and sophisticated, its tight, buttery crumb is scented with kirsch and shot through with soft summer berries.’
      • ‘Halve ciabatta and lightly toast the crumb side. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil.’
      • ‘Many people build earth ovens for the crisp bread crust and chewy crumb texture that only high-temperature, retained-heat ovens can provide.’
      • ‘Serve the food in unusual containers such as bread bowls (sturdy round loaves with some inner crumb removed) and you can give up Fairy Liquid completely.’
      • ‘A better way of ensuring a domed top is to use either buttermilk, yoghurt or sour milk instead of fresh: all these give a light, tender crumb and an alluring, rounded crown.’
      • ‘It will allow for a greater fermentation without breaking, give more volume, and is much more desirable when you are looking for irregularity of the interior crumb.’
      • ‘Perhaps adding gluten will give that smoother finer crumb I associate with what I have been told is French bread, here at the bottom of the Pacific, a long way from France.’
      • ‘The texture isn't bad and there's an interesting back flavour from the paprika added to the crumb.’
      • ‘Vegetable oil or another type of fat is often added to bread dough to improve crumb softness, loaf volume, and texture.’
      • ‘It made a deeply satisfying light meal, with a straightforward garnish of gem lettuce, fruity cherry tomatoes and a decent piece of white bread with a great crust and tasty crumb, generously drizzled with grassy olive oil.’
  • 2A very small amount of something.

    ‘the Budget provided few crumbs of comfort’
    • ‘Knowing who is holding their son and having some idea that the hostage-taking was to raise awareness of impoverished villagers is a crumb of comfort to his worried parents.’
    • ‘Anyone watching (and trust me, there are some) will assume that I am soaking up every crumb of wisdom that falls from the speaker's lips.’
    • ‘In such lean times, we must search for crumbs of comfort.’
    • ‘Bad news for the employees who are set to endure an uncertain few weeks but a small crumb of comfort for the media who might have something to write about during the post-Christmas lull.’
    • ‘The book is all songs and vignettes, with the odd crumb of action or smidgen of spoken words.’
    • ‘Often we are grateful for any little crumb that befalls us: some coded glance, some double entendre remark, some hinty, winking reference.’
    • ‘We possess only one crumb of information about that meeting in the novelist's country house.’
    • ‘They know who has the upper hand and are afraid to speak out against this hand that provides only crumbs to them.’
    • ‘I said maybe he is at some friends, to try to console her by offering crumbs of comfort.’
    • ‘And, of course, Thomas is going to gobble whatever crumb of a relationship that Sharon is willing to feed him.’
    • ‘Tanya started to say thanks but then decided against it, since she didn't mean even one pathetic crumb's worth.’
    • ‘Can you not look around you at all you have and, from such a position of success, take pity on those of us forced to battle each day for whatever crumb of self-respect we can muster?’
    fragment, bit, morsel, particle, tiny piece, speck, scrap, shred, sliver, atom, grain, granule, trace, tinge, mite, iota, jot, whit, ounce, scintilla, vestige
    View synonyms
  • 3North American informal An objectionable or contemptible person.

    ‘he's an absolute crumb’
  • 4mass noun Granulated rubber, usually made from recycled car tyres.

    • ‘Nor was pH of infiltrated water altered with the crumb rubber sublayer addition.’
    • ‘Once an area has been worn down, it is difficult to reseed into because of the increased temperatures generated from the crumb rubber.’
    • ‘‘We use a minimum of 25% recycled crumb rubber,’ says one of RPM's research and development chemists, ‘but the higher the density of the material, the more recycled rubber content we can use.’’
    • ‘The company recovers tyres from collectors and shreds them before selling the result as either lining for landfill sites or rubber crumb for all weather sports surfaces and carpet backing and underlay.’


[with object]
  • Cover (food) with breadcrumbs.

    ‘while the sweet potato is cooking, crumb the fish’
    • ‘Then it was time to place our orders - three of us opting for the rump and the fourth for the spare ribs with a couple of deep-fried crumbed mushroom starters to share.’
    • ‘She did and like so many others was completely won over by this deep fried, crumbed delicacy which comes with the yummiest of dressings.’
    • ‘I took this opportunity to experiment with frying bacon in the microwave (so-so) and crumbed the results liberally over the asparagus.’
    • ‘The entire dish was topped with crunchy bits of a crumbed bread, like panko (the Japanese breadcrumbs).’
    • ‘When all's ready, shallow fry the crumbed pork and slice.’
    • ‘The pork chop was lightly crumbed, nicely trimmed and cooked to perfection.’
    • ‘Lay fillet on absorbent paper and crumb the rest of the fish.’
    • ‘There was a large grilled crumbed fish which came with plenty of meat and fell apart.’
    • ‘I had a steak soaked in what looked like a béarnaise sauce, smaller chunks of crumbed meat and strips of filleted fish laid along the side.’
    • ‘That's what we got although hubby's stack of moist, pan-fried, crumbed snapper fillets would have put some seafood restaurants to shame.’
    • ‘We also ate a lot of mysterious crumbed meats accompanied with fried potatoes.’
    • ‘Being able to crumb a disgusting cut of meat, fry it and serve it with a foul tasting gravy and side of coleslaw doesn't mean you are number one in the culinary arts.’
    • ‘I recently had a Wiener Schnitzel dinner that consisted of salad, chips and two large pieces of crumbed pork.’
    • ‘The chicken was nicely spicy, while the Brie, melted inside a crumbed envelope and served with a port and orange sauce, was simply delicious.’
    • ‘I'm more of a crumbed chicken with mayo and an avocado salsa kinda girl.’
    • ‘My fishcakes are not breaded or crumbed, so they absorb less fat in the pan, especially if you use a non-stick one and wipe it out with butter paper for flavour.’
    • ‘There's a tender, flattened, finely crumbed chicken milanesa plate with the same rice and plantains, and a pabellón criollo plate that adds heaps of black beans and chewy, pleasant shredded beef to the rice and plantains.’


  • crumbs from —'s table

    • An unfair and inadequate share of something large.

      ‘it will amount to no more than crumbs from the European Commission's table’
      • ‘At this year's summit they decided to drop some crumbs from their table by way of throwing some dollars at the world's trouble-spots.’
      • ‘It is that multinational corporations and the rich create wealth and he can then take crumbs from their table to distribute to the huddled masses.’
      • ‘Glasgow should not be embarrassed about taking the crumbs from the capital 's table.’
      • ‘She asked for the crumbs from the children 's table.’


Old English cruma, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch kruim and German Krume. The final -b was added in the 16th century, perhaps from crumble but also influenced by words such as dumb, where the original final -b is retained although no longer pronounced.