To crumble is to come apart into tiny pieces. If the doughnuts you bring to work crumble before you get there, you co-workers will have nothing but crumbs to snack on.

Baked goods seem to crumble easily, but other things tend to crumble too: old houses, over time; sand castles; fragile ruins; and art objects made from clay. Anything that falls apart, especially into small bits, can be said to crumble. The root of the word is the Old English gecrymman, "to break into crumbs," which in turn comes from cruma, "crumb or fragment."

Definitions of crumble

v break or fall apart into fragments

“The cookies crumbled
“The Sphinx is crumbling
fall apart
Type of:
break into parts or components or lose cohesion or unity

v fall apart

“the building crumbled after the explosion”
break down, collapse, crumple, tumble
Type of:
change integrity
change in physical make-up

v fall into decay or ruin

decay, dilapidate
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become worse or disintegrate
corrode, rust
become destroyed by water, air, or a corrosive such as an acid
change under the action or influence of the weather
eat at, erode, gnaw, gnaw at, wear away
become ground down or deteriorate
droop, wilt
become limp
fall into ruin
break, bust, fall apart, wear, wear out
go to pieces
go to pot, go to the dogs
become ruined
eat away, fret
wear away or erode
wear, wear down, wear off, wear out, wear thin
deteriorate through use or stress
fray, frazzle
wear away by rubbing
Type of:
undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature

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