Definition of crisp in US English:



  • 1(of a substance) firm, dry, and brittle, especially in a way considered pleasing or attractive.

    ‘crisp bacon’
    ‘the snow is lovely and crisp’
    1. 1.1 (of a fruit or vegetable) firm, indicating freshness.
      ‘crisp lettuce’
    2. 1.2 (of the weather) cool, fresh, and invigorating.
      ‘a crisp autumn day’
    3. 1.3 (of paper or cloth) smoothly and attractively stiff and uncreased.
      ‘a crisp $5 bill’
    4. 1.4 (of hair) having tight curls, giving an impression of rigidity.
  • 2(of a way of speaking or writing) briskly decisive and matter-of-fact, without hesitation or unnecessary detail.

    ‘they were cut off with a crisp “Thank you.”’


  • 1A dessert of fruit baked with a crunchy topping of brown sugar, butter, and flour.

    ‘rhubarb crisp’
  • 2British A wafer-thin slice of potato fried or baked until crisp and eaten as a snack; a potato chip.


[with object]
  • 1Give (something, especially food) a crisp surface by placing it in an oven or grill.

    ‘crisp the pita rounds in the oven’
    1. 1.1no object (of food) acquire a crisp surface by being placed in an oven or grill.
      ‘open the foil so that the bread browns and crisps’
    2. 1.2archaic Curl into short, stiff, wavy folds or crinkles.


  • burn something to a crisp

    • Burn something completely, leaving only a charred remnant.

      ‘it is better to cook it slowly than to burn it to a crisp’
      • ‘All of a sudden, when the trees were burnt to a crisp, the flames were sucked back in the center as if by a vacuum.’
      • ‘This thing is big enough to burn the entire earth to a crisp.’
      • ‘When I emptied the chocolate into the bin the surface of the chocolate looked okay but underneath it was burnt to a crisp.’
      • ‘The bookshelves on the far ends of the room had been burnt to a crisp, probably in the explosion.’
      • ‘The time the chicken was burnt to a crisp, or when the birthday cake collapsed will become part of your family's history - memories to be recalled with love and affection.’
      • ‘The beast's fiery breath had even scorched the woodland beyond, burning whole trees to a crisp.’
      • ‘Most of her stuff was burnt to a crisp including the diamond.’
      • ‘As for my fear of the sun, well, only an idiot will stay out in the sun until they are burnt to a crisp.’
      • ‘For some reason, the Batards burnt the bread to a crisp.’
      • ‘It seemed the toaster had something against her; everyone else could make their toast a golden brown, but when Rach put her's in, it burned it to a crisp.’
      overcook, overbake, burn, burn to a cinder, burn to a crisp
      View synonyms


Old English (referring to hair in the sense ‘curly’): from Latin crispus ‘curled’. Other senses may result from symbolic interpretation of the sound of the word.