from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A very small piece broken from a baked item, such as a cookie, cake, or bread.
  • n. A small fragment, scrap, or portion: eraser crumbs; not a crumb of kindness for you.
  • n. The soft inner portion of bread.
  • n. Slang A contemptible, untrustworthy, or loathsome person.
  • transitive v. To break into very small pieces; crumble.
  • transitive v. To cover or prepare with very small pieces of bread.
  • transitive v. To brush (a table or cloth) clear of small scraps or fragments of food.
  • intransitive v. To break apart in very small pieces: a solid cake that won't crumb.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small piece which breaks off from baked food (such as cake, biscuit or bread).
  • n. A bit, small amount.
  • n. The soft internal portion of bread, surrounded by crust.
  • n. A mixture of sugar, cocoa and milk, used to make industrial chocolate.
  • n. A nobody, worthless person.
  • n. A body louse.
  • v. To cover with crumbs.
  • v. To break into crumbs or small pieces with the fingers; to crumble.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small fragment or piece; especially, a small piece of bread or other food, broken or cut off.
  • n. Fig.: A little; a bit.
  • n. The soft part of bread.
  • transitive v. To break into crumbs or small pieces with the fingers.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To break into small pieces with the fingers: as, to crumb bread into milk.
  • . To crumble bread into; prepare or thicken with crumbs of bread.
  • In cookery, to cover or dress with breadcrumbs, as meat, etc.; bread.
  • Same as crump.
  • n. A morsel: specifically, a minute piece of bread or other friable food broken off, as in crumbling it; hence, a very small fragment or portion of anything.
  • n. The soft inner part of a loaf of bread or cake, as distinguished from the crust.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. break into crumbs
  • v. remove crumbs from
  • n. small piece of e.g. bread or cake
  • n. a very small quantity of something
  • v. coat with bread crumbs
  • n. a person who is deemed to be despicable or contemptible


Middle English crome, from Old English cruma.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English cruma ("crumb, fragment"). The b appeared in the mid 15th century to match crumble and words like dumb, numb, thumb. (Wiktionary)


Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • The fact that even crumbs of bread were given utmost importance speaks of condition of living in Nazi concentration camp

    August 1, 2014