Interesting and Unusual Words: “Crumbs”

By Matt Vicker


A common word used by my grandparents, ‘crumbs’ is normally an exclamation along the lines of surprise ‘wow’ or in other instances in replacement of ‘drat’, ‘damn’ or something stronger… ‘Oh, crumbs! I didn’t lock the back door, I’ll have to go back.’

As per my IaUW posts, here is the OED definition: ‘An exclamation of consternation, dismay, etc.’ According to the entry, the first documented use was in 1892. I’m not saying my grandfather is that old, but he has most likely been using it all his life. It seems to be restricted to his generation because all of my grandparents use it fairly frequently but my parents don’t, neither do I and the same goes for people my age in general (I may be wrong). It could just be a regional thing, but the fact that it is in the OED proper, makes me think otherwise. Feel free to comment if you have any thoughts on the subject.

I challenge you to drop the use of ‘crumbs’ into your language in the coming week! Oh crumbs, I’m sure there was something else I wanted to say…

The OED entry for ‘crumbs’:



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