Definition of crumbly in English:



  • Consisting of or easily breaking into small fragments.

    ‘the cheese has a sharp flavour and is crumbly and moist’
    • ‘Chalk and similar soft, bedded limestones provide crumbly soils that are both well drained and have the capacity to retain water in the microporous rock structures.’
    • ‘The most obvious symptom of the disease is the production of small, crumbly berries that fall apart when touched.’
    • ‘The pavement in front of the man was obstructed by a row of dirty orange cones, which surrounded a deep trench beside a mound of tarmac chunks and crumbly earth.’
    • ‘If you're not a fan of chèvre (goat's cheese), you can replace it with almost any crumbly cheese.’
    • ‘The texture was also very pleasant, as the filling and dough sort of blended into one another, forming a gradual progression from crumbly shell to moist, fresh cheese, and the chewy little bolts of orange taste.’
    • ‘Although you can use any stuffing recipe that you might use for a chicken or turkey, the recipe below, which has a moist, light and slightly crumbly texture, works well.’
    • ‘Her home was little more than a shack, with rickety walls of thin, crumbly wood and with a wild, overgrown garden in the front.’
    • ‘The grass leaves and roots gradually rot down to produce a fine, crumbly loam that can be used for potting all sorts of plants from tomatoes to tulips.’
    • ‘A har appears as a horizontal layer of soil that looks denser with less crumbly soil particles than the topsoil, has few roots or earthworms and may even be a darker color than the rest of the soil.’
    • ‘The important notes of this classic dish should be caramelised apple and crumbly pasty, but instead, there was an unpleasant sharpness, which came from either burned sugar, or apples left in lemon juice too long, or both.’
    • ‘It makes clay-like soil more crumbly and helps sandy soil retain moisture.’
    • ‘If you are not keen on feta, use something else crumbly, such as Cheshire or Lancashire cheese.’
    • ‘Pile the leaves in every time they are cleared from the garden and leave them for a year or more to produce lovely, dark crumbly leaf mould to spread over the garden or incorporate into the soil.’
    • ‘Fail to get the balance of ingredients right and you will end up with a slimy, smelly mess rather than the rich, crumbly mulch that is the sign of good compost.’
    • ‘If they freeze hard enough before curing when on the walls, they will become quite crumbly and need to be removed.’
    • ‘Stilton is a creamy and slightly acidic blue cheese with a soft and crumbly texture.’
    • ‘The lowermost layer was very soft, crumbly yellow sandstone that would fall apart in your hands with enough pressure.’
    • ‘By putting it through a wormery or composter you not only avoid these emissions but get piles of top-grade crumbly compost too.’
    • ‘There were piles of the stuff - crumbly sand with a demerara-sugar like texture and just enough moisture to hold together curving walls and vaulting floors.’
    • ‘On the back of the cave was an upturned seaman's chest that spilled crumbly garments of silk and lace, ivory and gold ornaments, and heaps of gold and silver coins and fine jewellery of old.’
    brittle, breakable, friable, powdery, granular
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derogatory, humorous, informal
  • An old person.

    ‘the high proportion of crumblies in the population’
    • ‘Their project is an attempt to build bridges between the teenagers we used to be and the middle aged crumblies we have now become.’
    • ‘They were appropriately pompous but looked like crumbly high school maths teachers.’
    • ‘For this is the week that crumblies came into their own.’
    • ‘Is this the year when the Olympic Games will be taken over by the crumblies?’
    retired person, pensioner, old-age pensioner, oap
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