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See also: Crumb


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From Middle English crome, cromme, crumme, crume, from Old English cruma (crumb, fragment), from Proto-Germanic *krumô, *krūmô (fragment, crumb), from Proto-Indo-European *grū-mo- (something scraped together, lumber, junk; to claw, scratch), from *ger- (to turn, bend, twist, wind). The b is excrescent, as in limb and climb, appearing in the mid 15th century to match crumble and words like dumb, numb, thumb. Cognate with Dutch kruim (crumb), Low German Krome, Krume (crumb), German Krume (crumb), Danish krumme (crumb), Swedish dialectal krumma (crumb), Swedish inkråm (crumbs, giblets), Icelandic krumur (crumb), Latin grūmus (a little heap).


  • IPA(key): /kɹʌm/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌm


crumb (countable and uncountable, plural crumbs)

  1. A small piece which breaks off from baked food (such as cake, biscuit or bread).
    The pigeons were happily pecking at crumbs of bread on the ground.
    • Bible, Luke xvi. 21
      desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table
    • 1892, Walter Besant, chapter II, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], OCLC 16832619:
      At twilight in the summer there is never anybody to fear—man, woman, or cat—in the chambers and at that hour the mice come out. They do not eat parchment or foolscap or red tape, but they eat the luncheon crumbs.
  2. A small piece of other material, such as rubber.
    • 2012, Caroline Joy Adams, An Italic Calligraphy Handbook (page 79)
      Then erase any pencil lines with a good, soft eraser, rubbing gently, in only one direction. A dustbrush can be useful in removing any eraser crumbs.
  3. (figuratively) A bit, small amount.
    a crumb of comfort
  4. The soft internal portion of bread, surrounded by crust.
    • (Can we date this quote by Old song and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      Dust unto dust, what must be, must; / If you can't get crumb, you'd best eat crust.
  5. A mixture of sugar, cocoa and milk, used to make industrial chocolate.
  6. (slang) A nobody; a worthless person.
    • 1999, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Alice on the Outside (page 146)
      All Dad can think of is a gift certificate from the Melody Inn? And my crumb of a boyfriend doesn't even show up? This is a birthday?
  7. (slang) A body louse (Pediculus humanus).


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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


crumb (third-person singular simple present crumbs, present participle crumbing, simple past and past participle crumbed)

  1. (transitive) To cover with crumbs.
  2. (transitive) To break into crumbs or small pieces with the fingers; to crumble.
    to crumb bread

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