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See also: bread crumb


English Wikipedia has an article on:
Tiny pieces of bread.
A trail of hyperlinks, displayed as a guide to make navigating easier.

Alternative forms[edit]


bread +‎ crumb. Computing sense: a reference to the German fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, where Hansel leaves a trail of breadcrumbs to find the way back home when venturing into the woods.


  • (file)


breadcrumb (plural breadcrumbs)

  1. (chiefly in the plural) A tiny piece of bread, either one that falls from bread as it is cut or eaten, or one made deliberately by crumbling bread.
    • 2018 March 26, A. A. Dowd, “Steven Spielberg Finds Fun, and maybe even a Soul, in the Pandering Pastiche of Ready Player One”, in The A.V. Club[1], archived from the original on 31 May 2018:
      Before he died, James Halliday (Mark Rylance), the hermit-like, socially maladjusted tech genius who created The Oasis, hid an Easter egg somewhere in the circuitry, scattering bread crumbs that lead to its location. Find the egg, and the mogul’s fortune—along with total control of his digital fiefdom—is yours. It’s the ultimate capitalist scavenger hunt!
  2. (graphical user interface, chiefly in the plural) A single link in a chain indicating the hierarchical location of a web page or similar, used as a navigation aid.
  3. (figuratively, in the plural) One in a series of clues leading to a person or place.


  • (tiny piece of bread): crumb

Derived terms[edit]



breadcrumb (third-person singular simple present breadcrumbs, present participle breadcrumbing, simple past and past participle breadcrumbed)

  1. (transitive, cooking) To sprinkle breadcrumbs on to food, normally before cooking.
    • 2009, Elizabeth David, Omelette and a Glass Of Wine, →ISBN:
      All this breadcrumbing finished, you can put the meat on a grid over a baking dish and leave it until you are ready to cook it.
    • 2010, Teri Louise Kelly, Sex, Knives and Bouillabaisse, →ISBN:
      Said chef then proceeds to cough slimy phlegm all over the veal before it is breadcrumbed.
    • 2011, Sten Sture Skaldeman, Lose Weight by Eating, →ISBN:
      A Swede can't imagine a more summery food than breadcrumbed Baltic herring fillets stuffed with dill or parsley and soused in an oldfashioned vinegar
  2. (graphical user interface, intransitive) To add navigational breadcrumbs to (a web page or user interface).
    • 2003, Sybex Inc., HTML complete, page 155:
      Along those same lines, creating separate folders can enable you to use "breadcrumbing," which is another navigation aid (discussed in the section "Determining How to Organize the Information," later in this chapter).
    • 2003, Kreta Chandler & Karen Hyatt, Customer-centered Design: A New Approach to Web Usability, →ISBN:
      One navigational technique—breadcrumbing—is like having a “You Are Here” store directory in each aisle.
    • 2007, John Rizzo, Moving to Microsoft Windows Vista: Visual Quickproject Guide, →ISBN, page 93:
      The most striking change from previous versions of Windows is that Vista displays the path using a method called breadcrumbing.
  3. To use clues or enticements to lead someone in the desired direction.
    • 2007, Chris Mark Bateman, Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames, page 89:
      The process of breadcrumbing is the means by which a game writer can lead the player forward with a trail of clues, or the level designers can lead the player via more physical symbols.
    • 2016, Christopher W. Totten, An Architectural Approach to Level Design, →ISBN, page 198-199:
      I consider where more landmarks are needed and other changes for better flow and breadcrumbing.
    • 2016, Artur Lugmayr & Cinzia Dal Zotto, Media Convergence Handbook - Vol. 2: Firms and User Perspectives, →ISBN:
      An alternate reality game—ARG—is an interactive narrative that uses the real world as its media platform and uses storytelling “bread-crumbed” across several media to deliver a story that is altered and impacted in real time by the participants' ideas and actions (Dena, 2008; Denward & Waern, 2008; Werner, 2008).
    • 2016, Domino Finn, Heart Strings:
      It was what had attracted me to her in the first place. "You can say something," I said. "I'm easy to talk to." She frowned. The last time we had a private talk, in her kitchen, she admitted to playing me for a fool, making me fall in love with her, and breadcrumbing my way to discovering a deadly necromantic artifact.