Definition of crunch in US English:



  • 1with object Crush (a hard or brittle foodstuff) with the teeth, making a loud but muffled grinding sound.

    ‘she paused to crunch a ginger snap’
    • ‘The thought of two thousand people crunching celery at the same time horrified me.’
    • ‘Gavi is crunching potato chips, enjoying them.’
    • ‘Next time you pick up a pencil, take time to twirl it in your fingers, tap it against your teeth, crunch the end and wait for inspiration to flow.’
    • ‘Healthy eating does not mean crunching the occasional organic carrot stick with your Friday night vindaloo.’
    • ‘Larger titan triggerfish crunched their way through dead coral in search of some sustenance.’
    • ‘He's crunching an apple, and regarding me closely.’
    • ‘After a bit she came wandering in, crunched her way through a bite of breakfast and joined me in the study for the rest of my morning session.’
    • ‘She chewed with her mouth open, crunching her cereal noisily and glaring at Aus.’
    • ‘‘You can't,’ the other responded, crunching her popcorn and looking at the scene intently.’
    • ‘We had judged quantities perfectly and settled the bill which came to a more than reasonable £20.90 which also included four popadoms we had crunched our way through while waiting for our starters.’
    • ‘These substantial and curiously ugly animals use their bony foreheads to smash off great lumps of coral before they crunch it up with massive front teeth.’
    • ‘He picked up a handful of loose snow and tossed it towards the remains of the rookery, where Emma lay happily crunching carrots.’
    • ‘Not only is popcorn crunched throughout the film, but people just talk.’
    • ‘I save the ice cubes until last, biting and crunching them between my teeth until I can feel the ice splinter and crack.’
    • ‘Now, under a tree by the side of the yellowed brick road, they were crunching the bones of their supper.’
    • ‘But, as I crunched the vegetables more, my tongue was dumbfounded by a surprise flavor.’
    munch, chew noisily, chomp, champ, bite, gnaw, masticate
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    1. 1.1no object Make a crunching sound, especially when walking or driving over gravel or an icy surface.
      • ‘She slowly started to walk, the snow crunching under her feet.’
      • ‘A Landrover crunched up over the gravel and stopped.’
      • ‘Gravel crunched under her feet as she walked around to stand in front of me.’
      • ‘The small red sports car pulled into the gravel parking lot, crunching over the small rocks as it went.’
      • ‘I got out of the car and crunched across the snow, each breath of cold air scouring my lungs like steel wool.’
      • ‘The snow crunched as we walked along the empty sidewalk.’
      • ‘He crunched up the drive from the shed.’
      • ‘They crunch around in the snow, waving signs and hollering slogans.’
      • ‘A few stray leaves crunched underfoot as I walked.’
      • ‘A small blanket of snow covered the ground, and the men's boots crunched as they walked.’
      • ‘She strode purposefully across the grey moss and lichens, crunched through the fallen needles of the little sheoak grove and led them up onto a faintly worn track across the desert rock.’
      • ‘I step outside and crunch on snow, breathe fresh sharp air.’
      • ‘I walked back to my car, snow crunching underfoot, unlocked the doors, and slipped into the back.’
      • ‘As I walked the rocky soil crunched beneath my boots.’
      • ‘I eventually crunched my way home through thigh-high drifts of snow, beneath a sky ablaze with the northern lights.’
      • ‘Eventually, other people wake and the magic of the untouched snow is broken by the sounds of snowblowers and tires crunching their way down the street.’
      • ‘All I could hear, for half a mile, was the sound of our feet crunching on the gravel, and the gentle moos coming from the cows in the fields.’
      • ‘Crunching over the top of a ridge, we drop into a large bowl where rivulets of water gather to form a torrent that plunges into a crevasse.’
      • ‘As she crunches over the frosty ground she goes through her mental checklist: breakfast for her family of six will be pancakes.’
      • ‘Cautiously they both walked onward, pebbles crunching underneath their thinly booted feet.’
    2. 1.2 Strike or crush noisily.
      ‘two cab drivers who had just crunched fenders’
      • ‘Trust me - hours upon hours of hearing a whipper-snipper blade being crunched against concrete isn't a relaxing sound.’
      • ‘And then this sound that I will never forget of just crunching metal, and just this turning and churning.’
      • ‘The snowplows were out in full force, but they were ungrounded, buzzing and crawling ever closer, crunching rock salt and scraping towards me.’
      • ‘Metal on metal crunches came quietly from the ship.’
      • ‘Damien looked up surprised but didn't react fast enough to stop his bone crunching fists as they smacked straight into Jesse's nose.’
  • 2Process large amounts of information or perform operations of great complexity, especially by computer.

    ‘computers crunch data from real-world observations’
    • ‘Sometimes the computer has an advantage simply because it can crunch numbers far better than players.’
    • ‘But after this year's edition, he says, and once the numbers are crunched, organizers are going to have to take a look at expenses and figure things out from there.’
    • ‘Processor speed, while important, is only one factor in how fast a computer can crunch information.’
    • ‘But it allows us to apply the computer's enormous speed and power to crunch mountains of data into possible scenarios.’
    • ‘We've spent most of the evening crunching numbers and assessing options and we still haven't come to any firm conclusions.’
    • ‘One example is in the pharmaceutical industry, where scientists need to crunch vast amounts of genetic information in their attempts to develop new medicines.’
    • ‘Instead, they evolve from simple replicators into sophisticated data processors that can crunch numbers in complicated ways.’
    • ‘It is a game that you would enjoy if you want to play it while your computer crunches at an algorithm or merges a few database tables.’
    • ‘Their model crunched the information under various scenarios of climate change to predict the ranges of the species in 2055.’
    • ‘What may be surprising to some students is that a career in financial services isn't just about being able to crunch numbers.’
    • ‘You could hear the sound of numbers being crunched in their big nerdy brains.’
    • ‘I lift weights and ride a stationary bike with wires pasted to my chest, a snorkel in my mouth, and a computer crunching the numbers.’
    • ‘This year, she crunched the numbers in various patterns looking for trends and anomalies.’
    • ‘When all the information is crunched, biologists get an idea of the relative abundance of the many species of fish in the bays and the age and length structure of those populations.’
    • ‘The use of bar code scanners, consumer data and software to crunch the information has made it easier to select and control inventory of all types of products.’
    • ‘That not only means that more information can be crunched at once, but these chips can also handle more complex instructions.’
    • ‘But benefits should arrive before computers have crunched through the planet's vast accumulation of DNA information.’
    • ‘Only a fool would pass up that deal after crunching the numbers!’
    • ‘Instead numbers were crunched, complicated scenarios considered, strategies sorted, deals attempted and all to no avail.’
    • ‘The monitors would function independently during the day, watching for serious health conditions, crunching their own data, and triggering alarms.’


  • 1usually in singular A loud muffled grinding sound made when crushing, moving over, or hitting something.

    ‘Marco's fist struck Brian's nose with a crunch’
    • ‘The sound it made was a combination of a thud and a crunch.’
    • ‘He spun in a cartwheel and landed on his head, hard, with a crunch.’
    • ‘He hit the ground with a loud thud and the crunch of pine needles.’
    • ‘We walked slowly down the path, the crunch of the gravel sounding unusually loud.’
    • ‘I heard a tiny crunch sound, and I realized that I had hit one of the poles.’
    • ‘Soon there is no noise but the crunch of our footsteps.’
    • ‘I heard the satisfying crunch of fist breaking nose after I felt my fist hit it.’
    • ‘There was a crunch, like the sound of someone biting into an apple.’
    • ‘She felt a hard crunch beneath her foot and wondered dimly if maybe she'd stepped on a pencil.’
    • ‘I heard the wet, brittle sound of teeth piercing the skin and the crunch and slurp of that first bite that's always so difficult with a hard apple.’
    • ‘Everything happened before I even had time to open my mouth and scream - the car hit us in the side doors and there was a crunch and the sound of breaking headlights.’
    • ‘Drivers in the queue reported hearing a ‘fierce noise of screeching tyres’ and a frightening crunch as a white lorry ploughed into the bus and rolled it over.’
    • ‘The sound that the small bones in your foot make when they break are not so much a crunch as a crack, startlingly loud.’
    • ‘There was a loud crunch as the plank split in two down the center, the sharp splinters flying away from the impact point and back towards the man.’
    • ‘A great crunch of metal sounded from the passage below.’
    • ‘There was a loud crunch and pieces of the wood door flew into the shed.’
    • ‘Tonight, there is awed silence, with only the crunch of discarded beer cups under foot intruding on the sound of one man and his battered guitar.’
    • ‘From the sound of the sickening crunch that ensued after the blow, I'd broken her nose.’
    • ‘The only sound was the lapping of the waves and the occasional crunch as our little motorboat moved against pebbles on the shoreline.’
    • ‘The crystals are so flaky you never have to worry about it being a hard crunch when you bite down.’
  • 2the crunchinformal A crucial point or situation, typically one at which a decision with important consequences must be made.

    ‘when it comes to the crunch you chicken out’
    • ‘They failed to pin down the evidence about the crunch meetings.’
    • ‘Though I have been playing this game for more than two years now, I have not been able to judge my ability to perform in crunch situations.’
    • ‘Bar staff were today taking more cash than ever with fans crowding bars for the crunch clash between England and Argentina.’
    • ‘At the crunch, it came down to a handful of votes.’
    • ‘The redrawing of constituency boundaries reaches its crunch decision point early this month.’
    • ‘The company also now faces the crunch issue that defines all second-hand sales: trust and confidence on the part of the buyer.’
    • ‘This is now a crunch situation, it cannot go on like this any longer.’
    • ‘As to the crunch question - should he stay or should he go?’
    • ‘The England scrum-half looked to be out of the crunch game when he injured a hamstring in last Sunday's match against Georgia.’
    • ‘And when it came down to crunch time, he always came through.’
    • ‘But, after all, developing nations have started facing the crunch situation following the environmental degradation.’
    • ‘After days of talks earlier this month, the crunch teleconference between the heads of agencies had been expected to decide the issue this weekend.’
    • ‘The level of hard work and commitment put in over the past few months had come down to the crunch and true to form, both communities lived up to their full potential.’
    • ‘When it came to the crunch though, I chickened out and offered the truth.’
    • ‘This could be the crunch, because it's that important to us.’
    • ‘Everyone is represented, it is superficially democratic but when it comes to crunch time the big players call the shots.’
    • ‘But surely in taking a position on crunch issues of key importance, the first loyalty of a Member of Parliament should always be to their electorate?’
    • ‘They spend so much time arguing about ideology that, when it comes to the crunch, decisions on important issues are often deferred.’
    moment of truth, critical point, crux, crisis, decision time, zero hour, point of no return
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    1. 2.1 A severe shortage of money or credit.
      ‘the Fed would do what it could to ease America's credit crunch’
      • ‘The cash crunch, felt hardest in less metropolitan parts of the country, will surely see to that.’
      • ‘Many specialty contractors say that the personnel crunch has eased, but has not disappeared.’
      • ‘The equity markets smell trouble, and fears of a credit crunch have heightened.’
      • ‘Now there appears to be a savage credit crunch in the offing, and nobody seems to even notice.’
      • ‘The world's central banks have made clear they are on hand to inject money into the financial system at the slightest sign of any credit crunch.’
      • ‘Hiding this fact from the American public will make it all the harder to gain their support when the crunch comes.’
      • ‘For now, a consumer credit crunch is hardly inevitable.’
      • ‘But there are no assurances that your new home state won't pass additional tax legislation if it gets into a budget crunch situation.’
      • ‘Traditionally, such a dramatic Credit crunch would have strangled the economy and precipitated a deep recession.’
      • ‘The funds crunch faced by the government, coupled with rampant corruption has made sure the public health system goes from bad to worse.’
      • ‘But for many smaller outfits, the slowdown has become a full-blown credit crunch.’
      • ‘The ‘money spigot’ is rapidly closing and many, many companies will not survive the unfolding credit crunch.’
      • ‘Bank officials also called on local banks to continue to lend to well-managed businesses to prevent a credit crunch.’
      • ‘Right now, there's a real credit crunch going out there for small- and medium-sized businesses.’
      • ‘What appears different this time is that we seem to have gone through a business and investment downturn without a credit crunch.’
      • ‘However, that reflects the modest recovery, not a credit crunch.’
      • ‘Even if the time structure of assets and liabilities match on the firm's balance sheet, a credit crunch is always a real possibility.’
      • ‘Despite the rate cuts in recent months, the market continues to worry about a possible credit crunch, where corporate fund demand cannot be met due to cautious lending by banks.’
      • ‘Taken to its extreme, this process leads to a credit crunch.’
      • ‘There is now no doubt that a major credit crunch is unfolding in the syndicated lending area.’
  • 3A physical exercise designed to strengthen the abdominal muscles; a sit-up.

    • ‘Traditional sit-ups and crunches are great for this and they can be done anywhere.’
    • ‘You can benefit just as much from exercises that use body weight - pushups, crunches, etc.’
    • ‘In addition, he does bicep/tricep curls, chest lifts, sit-ups and crunches.’
    • ‘I feel more toned, and when I do crunches at the gym, I feel like I am doing them properly.’
    • ‘This is a compound exercise that adds an abdominal crunch to the standard push-up movement.’
    • ‘The new physical fitness test will consist of four components: push-ups, crunches, an abdominal circumference measurement and a 1.5-mile timed run.’
    • ‘Some women do a few sets of sit-ups, crunches, back extensions and so on at the end of every workout or every other workout, and that's okay.’
    • ‘Belly dancing works your core muscles - it certainly beats crunches - as well as thighs and glutes.’
    • ‘Strengthen your abdominal muscles, which support the spine, by doing crunches three times per week.’
    • ‘One can do crunches all day and still not have visible abdominal muscles due to the insulating layer of fat that most of us have over our abdomen.’
    • ‘She counsels against crunches and sit-ups during the acute phase.’
    • ‘Some trainers suggest that for maximum benefit, you should do crunches and other ab exercises before your aerobics or weight training.’
    • ‘For people suffering from osteoporosis, abdominal crunches, situps and other common exercises that bend the spine can cause back pain or, worse yet, result in spinal fractures.’
    • ‘These movements include push-ups, crunches, dips, pull-ups, lunges, body weight squats, back extensions or any other calisthenics.’
    • ‘Some men dedicate hours to sit-ups, crunches and leg raises every week, in order to keep their stomach muscles trim and looking good.’
    • ‘Not only that - but negative sit-ups can build abdominal muscles faster than crunches.’
    • ‘Free weights and stabilization exercises like push-ups and crunches incorporate muscles that improve balance, coordination and body control.’
    • ‘While there are many variations of abdominal exercises, research suggests that abdominal crunches on a stability ball may be the most effective.’
    • ‘A strong torso is essential to correct posture, so exercises such as crunches for the abdominals and extensions for the back muscles can be extremely helpful.’
    • ‘Achieving a relaxed, balanced posture in the upper spine is critical during the crunch.’


Early 19th century (as a verb): variant of 17th-century cranch (probably imitative), by association with crush and munch.