From Middle English crimpen (“to be contracted, be drawn together”), from Middle Dutch crimpen, crempen (“to crimp”), from Proto-Germanic *krimpaną (“to shrink, draw back”) (compare related Old English ġecrympan (“to curl”)). Cognate with Dutch krimpen, German Low German krimpen, Faroese kreppa (“crisis”), and Icelandic kreppa (“to bend tightly, clench”). Compare also derivative Middle English crymplen (“to wrinkle”) and causative crempen (“to turn something back, restrain”, literally “to cause to shrink or draw back”), both ultimately derived from the same root. See also cramp.
- (obsolete) Easily crumbled; friable; brittle.
- 1708, John Philips, Cyder. A Poem, page 27:
- Now the Fowler […] Treads the crimp Earth,
- (obsolete) Weak; inconsistent; contradictory.
- 1750, John Arbuthnot, The History of John Bull:
- The evidence is crimp; the witnesses swear backward and forward, and contradict themselves
crimp (plural crimps)
- A fastener or a fastening method that secures parts by bending metal around a joint and squeezing it together, often with a tool that adds indentations to capture the parts.
- The strap was held together by a simple metal crimp.
- The natural curliness of wool fibres.
- (usually in the plural) Hair that is shaped so it bends back and forth in many short kinks.
- (obsolete) A card game.
- 1640, Ben Jonson, The Magnetick Lady, or, Hvmors Reconcil'd, Act 2, scene 4:
- Lady Loadstone: Laugh, and keep company, at gleek or crimp. / Mistress Polish: Your ladyship says right, crimp sure will cure her.
- To press into small ridges or folds, to pleat, to corrugate.
- Cornish pasties are crimped during preparation.
- 1983, The Pacific Reporter (page 636)
- Casino employees and Gaming Control Board agents placed the table under observation. The deck in play was exchanged for a new deck, and the used deck was found to contain many crimped cards.
- To fasten by bending metal so that it squeezes around the parts to be fastened.
- He crimped the wire in place.
- To pinch and hold; to seize.
- To style hair into a crimp, to form hair into tight curls, to make it kinky.
- To bend or mold leather into shape.
- To gash the flesh, e.g. of a raw fish, to make it crisper when cooked.
Uncertain. Likely from etymology 1, above, but the historical development is not clear. Attested since the seventeenth century.
crimp (plural crimps)
- An agent who procures seamen, soldier, etc., especially by decoying, entrapping, impressing, or seducing them.
- 1758, John Blake, A Plan, for regulating the Marine System of Great Britain, page 44:
- Indeed, when a maſter of a ſhip, ſuppoſe at Jamaica, hath loſt any of his hands, he applies of courſe to a crimp […] who makes it his buſineſs to ſeduce the men belonging to ſome other ſhip,
- 1793, Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, §27:
- It was an odd Thing to find an Oxford Scholar in the Situation of a bought Servant. He was not more than 18 Years of Age, & gave me this Account of himself; that he was born in Gloucester, educated at a Grammar School there, had been distinguish’d among the Scholars for some apparent Superiority in performing his Part when they exhibited Plays; belong’d to the Witty Club there, and had written some Pieces in Prose & Verse which were printed in the Gloucester Newspapers. Thence he was sent to Oxford; there he continu’d about a Year, but not well-satisfy’d, wishing of all things to see London & become a Player. At length receiving his Quarterly Allowance of 15 Guineas, instead of discharging his Debts, he walk’d out of Town, hid his Gown in a Furze Bush, and footed it to London, where having no Friend to advise him, he fell into bad Company, soon spent his Guineas, found no means of being introduc’d among the Players, grew necessitous, pawn’d his Clothes & wanted Bread. Walking the Street very hungry, & not knowing what to do with himself, a Crimp’s Bill was put into his Hand, offering immediate Entertainment & Encouragement to such as would bind themselves to serve in America. He went directly, sign’d the Indentures, was put into the Ship & came over; never writing a Line to acquaint his Friends what was become of him. He was lively, witty, good-natur’d, and a pleasant Companion, but idle, thoughtless & imprudent to the last Degree.
- 1796, J[ohn] G[abriel] Stedman, chapter XVII, in Narrative of a Five Years’ Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam, in Guiana, on the Wild Coast of South America; […], volume II, London: J[oseph] Johnson, […], and J. Edwards, […], OCLC 13966308, page 28:
- Among his men I recollected one Cordus, a gentleman's ſon from Hamburgh, in which character I had known him, and who had been trepanned into the Weſt India Company's ſervice by the crimps or ſilver-coopers as a common ſoldier.
- 1842, Frederick Marryat, Percival Keene, page 215:
- I hear there are plenty of good men stowed away by the crimps at different places.
- 1840, Washington Irving, “The Count Van Horn”, in The Knickerbocker, page 243:
- As Count Antoine was in the habit of sallying forth at night […] he came near being carried off by a gang of crimps
- 1887 May 21, “Mr Besant's romance of the sea”, in The Spectator, volume 60, page 691:
- The World Went Very Well Then—in the high and palmy days of the crimp, the pirate, the press-gang, and the smuggler—is a case in point.
- (specifically, law) One who infringes sub-section 1 of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1854, applied to a person other than the owner, master, etc., who engages seamen without a license from the Board of Trade.
- (obsolete) A keeper of a low lodging house where sailors and emigrants are entrapped and fleeced.
- (transitive) To impress (seamen or soldiers); to entrap, to decoy.
- 1831 March, Thomas Carlyle, “Historic Survey of German Poetry By W. Taylor”, in The Edinburgh Review, volume 53, page 168:
- […] nay, where in any corner he can spy a tall man, clutching at him, to crimp him or impress him.
- 1833 April, Thomas Carlyle, “Mémoires, Correspondance, et Ouvrage inédit de Diderot”, in The Foreign Quarterly Review, page 269:
- To the Reverend Fathers, it seemed that Denis would make an excellent Jesuit; wherefore they set about coaxing and courting, with intent to crimp him.
- 1837, Arthur Wellesley, John Gurwood, editor, The Dispatches of Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington during his Various Campaigns, volume 9, page 235-6:
- It appears that that officer, instead of attending to interesting events likely to occur in this quarter, is desirous of plundering corn and crimping recruits
- 1839 February 11, The Standard, London, page 4:
- —why not create customers in the Queen's dominions for our own manufacturing produce, instead of trying at enormous expense to crimp them in other countries?
- 1867, Goldwin Smith, Three English Statesmen, page 235:
- Voltaire is never so good as when he is ridiculing the cruel folly which crimps a number of ignorant and innocent peasants, dresses them up in uniform, teaches them to march and wheel, and sends them off to kill and be killed
- 1884 February 1, Henry Labouchere, “Scuttling out of Egypt”, in The Pall Mall Budget, page 7:
- On this the Egyptian Government crimped negroes in the streets of Cairo, appointed the most notorious ex-slave-dealer in the Soudan to command them, converted policemen into soldiers, and announced that these negroes and policemen were to be sent to the Soudan