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See also: Cruft


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Circa 1959, MIT Tech Model Railroad Club.[1] Unknown origin; possibly from Cruft Hall, built in 1915 as a gift from a donor named Harriet Otis Cruft.[2] Cruft Hall was the radar laboratory of Harvard's physics department during the Second World War, which contained much old and unused technical equipment. Possibly blend of crust +‎ fluff, both of which may form on old abandoned things, or influenced by crud.


  • IPA(key): /kɹʌft/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌft
  • Hyphenation: cruft


cruft (uncountable)

  1. (slang) Anything old or of inferior quality.
    • 2014, Jim Dwyer, quoting Eben Moglen, More Awesome Than Money, Viking, →ISBN, page 26–27:
      Students “still think of privacy as ‘the one secret I don’t want revealed,’ and that’s not the problem. Their problem is all the stuff that’s the cruft, the data dandruff, of life, that they don’t think of as secret in any way, but which aggregates to stuff that they don't want anybody to know,” Moglen said.
    • 2020, The Washington Post:
      The document just goes on at length in the same way, picking out the sort of cruft that’s been littering Trump’s Twitter feed since Nov. 3 and tying it all into one stinky package. It’s sincerely not worth running through the entire litany again; simply consider The Post’s Fact Checker articles as an effective rejoinder.
  2. (computing, slang) Redundant, old or improperly written code, especially that which accumulates over time.
    Synonym: clutter
    • 2015 [1992], Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Modern Operating Systems, 4th edition, →ISBN, page 908:
      The PEB includes the list of loaded modules (i.e., the EXE and DLLs), the memory containing environment strings, the current working directory, and data for managing the process’ heaps—as well as lots of special-case Win32 cruft that has been added over time.
    • 2015, Shelley Powers, JavaScript Cookbook, Sebastopol: O'Reilly, →ISBN, page 143:
      Best developer practices run the gamut from keeping the cruft out of your code to ensuring your code is accessible to all your application or site’s users.
    • 2021 August 14, Jim Salter, quoting Sawyer X, “The Perl Foundation is fragmenting over Code of Conduct enforcement”, in Ars Technica[2]:
      Sawyer cites responses to a message saying "there is cruft in [Perl]" as the excuse some Perl community members used to "push him into a corner" until he deactivated his Twitter account.
  3. (film, slang) Meaningless and/or gratuitous content displayed on computer consoles in visual entertainment productions.

Derived terms[edit]



cruft (third-person singular simple present crufts, present participle crufting, simple past and past participle crufted)

  1. (computing, slang) To generate cruft. (Can we add an example for this sense?)


  1. ^ Peter Samson, AN ABRIDGED DICTIONARY of the TMRC LANGUAGE June 1959 (with 2005 commentary)
  2. ^ “Bronze Tablet Erected in Cruft Memorial Laboratory”, in (please provide the title of the work)[1], accessed 26 November 2014