Definition of crumple in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Crush (something, typically paper or cloth) so that it becomes creased and wrinkled.

    ‘he crumpled up the paper bag’
    • ‘He stared at the half-written sentence and then crumpled the paper in his hand, tossing it onto the dying fire in the fireplace.’
    • ‘I always stack the dishes and put the silverware in a glass and crumple the paper and sweep up the errant rice, because I bussed tables for many years.’
    • ‘Rue finished off the snickers bar, crumpling the wrapper and sticking it into her bag.’
    • ‘I shook my head vigorously, crumpled the index card, and tossed it into the trash can.’
    • ‘He stood up brusquely, crumpling the paper and tossing it at my face.’
    • ‘I crumpled the empty paper bag and tossed it in the garbage next to the fridge.’
    • ‘‘All right, all right,’ she muttered grumpily, gathering her stuff and crumpling the empty paper bag in one hand.’
    • ‘She moves cigarettes in her pack, then crumples the paper and puts it on the shelf with chocolate bars.’
    • ‘Rual answered, crumpling the napkin into a ball.’
    • ‘She crumpled up the paper she'd been absently doodling on and threw it into the wastebasket.’
    • ‘He crumpled the cloth in his hand and read the note again.’
    • ‘I threw the pen down in frustration and crumpled the paper in one swift motion.’
    • ‘For more insulation, put crumpled newspaper between the freezer cabinet and blankets.’
    • ‘As I shoved it into my bag, I had to be especially careful not to crumple the sheet of paper than had all my science notes on it.’
    • ‘He crumpled up the paper in his hands, only to unfold it again.’
    • ‘Taking out her slightly crumpled test paper, she hurried to the living room.’
    • ‘Finn crumpled the paper and threw it into the garbage can five feet away from us.’
    • ‘He reached into his pack and pulled out two dirty crumpled sheets of paper.’
    • ‘I accepted it and crumpled the energy bar wrapper in my other hand.’
    • ‘The surface is suggestive: imagine crumpling a canvas, smoothing it out and then using the tracery of creases to define areas within the final work.’
    crush, scrunch up, screw up, squash, squeeze
    crease, wrinkle, crinkle, rumple, ruck up, tumble
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    1. 1.1no object Become bent, crooked, or creased.
      ‘they heard the jetliner crumple moments before it crashed’
      • ‘There were torn posters lying crumpled up on the floor and dirty clothes strewn all around.’
      • ‘As he constructs these hybrid works, he crumples, twists and tears at his canvases, using them more like building materials than works of fine art.’
      • ‘Life-saving lamp-posts which crumple if hit by a car are being tested in the Ribble Valley to see if they save lives.’
      • ‘She looked at the wrinkled shirt, crumpled into a ball, lying on the floor.’
      • ‘Five steps up the dirt path, my trachea crumpled, my vertebrae fused, and the small muscles in my back revolted and spasmed.’
      • ‘Four wrecked cars were artfully strewn along the roadway, doors buckled, windshields smashed, engines crumpled.’
      • ‘He had heard leaves crumple under the pressure of feet, yet there were no leaves on the ground.’
      • ‘These buildings may have crumpled under the pressure of the quake, but I know for sure that the people will not buckle that easily.’
      • ‘A concrete car park, several apartment buildings and part of a hospital unexpectedly crumpled despite their steel frames.’
      • ‘Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the pages crumpled against the blue tile, but I didn't care.’
      • ‘In cases of severe growth inhibition, the wings appeared crumpled with strong structural deformation.’
      • ‘I was sandwiched between two seats that had crumpled into each other.’
      • ‘He clenched his fists tighter and the metal crumpled in his hands like paper.’
      • ‘An aide later found it crumpled in the general's shirt pocket.’
      • ‘The frame twisted and bent and the car crumpled like cardboard.’
      • ‘My retinas were crumpled up like a piece of rag, and I could see nothing.’
      • ‘So I screwed up the picture as tightly as I could, twisting and folding and crumpling until my hands hurt and no one would see the scene again, especially not me.’
      • ‘How many of them actually got used, I do not know - only that I found mine crumpled in my bag several days later.’
      • ‘An empty can of beer crumpled underneath my foot as I sat down.’
      warp, become warped, make warped, bend, bend out of shape, become bent, make bent, twist, become twisted, make twisted, curve, become curved, make curved, distort, become distorted, make distorted, contort, become contorted, make contorted, become crooked, make crooked, deform, become deformed, make deformed, malform, become malformed, make malformed, misshape, become misshapen, make misshapen, mangle, become mangled, make mangled, develop a fold, develop a kink, develop a wrinkle, bulge, arc, arch, wrinkle
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    2. 1.2no object (of a person) suddenly flop down to the ground.
      ‘she crumpled to the floor in a dead faint’
      • ‘Tom crumpled to the ground, bleeding heavily from the right side of his face.’
      • ‘I was expecting Stephen to lash out at her, but he just crumpled down to the floor, a single tear falling down his face.’
      • ‘It broke into a thousand tiny pieces, and my mother crumpled to the ground.’
      • ‘No longer awash with big-boy bravado, they have crumpled into sobbing heaps.’
      • ‘I just crumpled to the floor in the hall and came round literally feeling like seconds had passed since I took the hit.’
      • ‘I went into the office to find the offender, and saw a worried woman crumpled in a chair in the corner, wearing a look of weariness and doubt.’
      • ‘There was a young woman lying crumpled on the floor beside the wall.’
      • ‘My dad crumpled like a wet Kleenex, horrified at himself, and slunked away.’
      • ‘He yanked it free and tossed it aside, watching in satisfaction as she slowly crumpled into a heap on the floor.’
      • ‘Thankfully, she didn't crumple to the ground when he released her.’
      • ‘Sarah crumpled into a heap of sobs against the door after he left.’
      • ‘Erik shook his head in disgust as he looked at his brother crumpled on the floor and looking so pitiful.’
      • ‘Then the young man crumpled to the ground, with his eyes opened in shock, and his mouth gaping.’
      • ‘He lay crumpled on a ruined street of a once high class district.’
      • ‘I attacked and found myself either crumpled at his feet or piled in a corner.’
      • ‘I inevitably ended up crumpled on the floor after receiving a dodgeball to the kidney.’
      • ‘His comrades had been studying the green leaves with interest but had jumped half a foot into the air when their companion crumpled to the ground.’
      • ‘He eventually left his victim crumpled and unconscious on the ground.’
      • ‘The phone clicked back into place as Jackie crumpled onto the floor, her composure finally breaking.’
      collapse, give way, cave in, go to pieces, break down, crumble, be overcome
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    3. 1.3no object (of a person's face) suddenly sag and show an expression of desolation.
      ‘the child's face crumpled and he began to howl’
      • ‘He handed over the receiver, watched as his boy's face crumpled, and didn't even have to ask why.’
      • ‘Her face crumpled as tears spilled over, running down her cheeks in a torrent.’
      • ‘At this, Sarah's face crumpled, and she stood up with arms stretched out to Annie as she used to in the past.’
      • ‘When she saw me, her face crumpled and she slammed her window shut.’
      • ‘Her face crumpled and tears fell silently, as she clasped her husband's arm.’
      • ‘The thought of seeing 40 faces simultaneously crumple with disbelief was too much for us to bear.’
      • ‘His shock registered immediately, but when he took in my tears and the letter in my hand, his face crumpled.’
      • ‘Dian's face crumpled, tears welled up in her eyes and threatened to fall.’
      • ‘Her shock wore off and her face quickly crumpled into tears.’
      • ‘The watery blue eyes, peeking at you under those bushy eyebrows, the face crumpled into resignation.’
      • ‘But ask her if she's ever been with a man who loved her and her face crumples before the question's even finished.’
      • ‘My voice must have broken his trance, because his face crumpled and he turned away from both the children and me.’
      • ‘Her face crumples at the memories of all the disappointments since.’
      • ‘With her face crumpling in pain, she couldn't see past the tears that flooded down her face.’
      • ‘His right eyebrow shot up as his face crumpled up in disbelief.’
      • ‘She stared at me, her face crumpled by the expression of hurt upon her face.’
      • ‘She sits heavily down and, after a moment of composure, her face crumples and she begins to sob.’
      • ‘At this, Darcy's face crumpled and she took the seat next to her daughters, dropping her head into her hands.’
      • ‘I could feel my face crumpling, and I tried to fight back the flood of emotion.’
      • ‘The young black doctor smiled - then, as the slur sank in, his face crumpled.’
      pucker, screw up
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  • A crushed fold, crease, or wrinkle.

    • ‘The initial sense of containment and propriety is reassuring but after 10 minutes the stains start to show and the crumples appear and I'm left craving that comfortable black jumper.’
    • ‘In the outside lane is a silver Discovery, stopped, but looking fine. Behind it is a large white van with a spare-wheel shaped crumple in the bonnet.’
    • ‘The slight hills and dips in the fields became the crumples of a quilt not completely smoothed down.’
    • ‘I tend not to shave, and my clothes get crumples, and similar.’
    • ‘‘The posture of a computer-user is that of head and neck stuck forward and face peering into the screen, with the thoracic part of the spine slumped into a deep crumple,’ she says.’
    crease, fold, pucker, gather, furrow, ridge, line, corrugation, groove, crinkle, crumple, rumple
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Middle English: from obsolete crump ‘make or become curved’, from Old English crump ‘bent, crooked’, of West Germanic origin; related to German krumm.