crumble

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
  1. verb
    break or fall apart into fragments
    “The cookies crumbled
    “The Sphinx is crumbling
    synonyms: fall apart
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    type of:
    disintegrate
    break into parts or components or lose cohesion or unity
  2. verb
    fall apart
    “the building crumbled after the explosion”
    synonyms: break down, collapse, crumple, tumble
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    type of:
    change integrity
    change in physical make-up
  3. verb
    fall into decay or ruin
    synonyms: decay, dilapidate
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    types:
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    deteriorate
    become worse or disintegrate
    corrode, rust
    become destroyed by water, air, or a corrosive such as an acid
    weather
    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
    ruin
    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:
    change
    undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
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