17th century, either from crompid cake (“wafer, literally, curled-up cake”), from crompid, form of crumpen (“to curl up”); cognate to crumpled. Alternate etymology is from Celtic; compare Breton krampouezh (“crepe, pancake”).
Sense of “desirable woman” attested 1936, possibly as cockney rhyming slang for strumpet; alternatively, compare tart (“loose woman, prostitute”) (itself possibly cockney rhyming slang for heart or sweetheart). Note that muffin has a similar sense, and that, in 19th and early 20th centuries, "Muffins and crumpets" was a familiar street-cry in UK.
crumpet (plural crumpets)
- A type of savoury cake, typically flat and round, made from batter and yeast, containing many small holes and served toasted, usually with butter.
- (UK, slang, uncountable) A person (or, collectively, persons) considered sexually desirable.