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Extremely fierce, violent, harsh, or of great impact. There was a bone-crunching collision between the two cyclists on the road. The two teams played a bone-crunching game last night.

caught in the crunch

To have been the victim of difficult circumstances or pressures, especially financial ones and often those that are outside of one's control. Many small businesses caught in the crunch of the recession were forced to close or are barely staying open. When next year's budget is announced by the government, lower earners and public services are likely to be the ones caught in the crunch.
See also: caught, crunch

crunch (the) numbers

To compile, calculate, and/or analyze a large amount of numerical data, especially as relates to finance. We've been crunching the numbers for hours, and I just don't see how we'll be able to afford another child! This new computer crunches numbers faster than any of us could even dream of!
See also: crunch, number

crunch time

A critical period of time characterized by a heightened pressure to succeed, usually at or near the end of a given situation or undertaking. Okay, we've got two minutes to tie the game—it's crunch time, guys!
See also: crunch, time

feel the crunch

To be under strain from a lack of money or resources. Many non-profits are beginning to feel the crunch from having their federal funding slashed earlier this year.
See also: crunch, feel

crunch someone or something up

to break someone or something up into pieces. That machine will crunch you up. Stay away from it! A number of blows with the hammer crunched up the rocks into pebbles. Try to crunch the larger chunks up.
See also: crunch, up

crunch something down

to press or crush something down, breaking it with a crunching noise. Sally crunched the flower pot down, breaking it. She crunched down the fragile glass in the box accidentally.
See also: crunch, down

when it comes to the crunch

also when the crunch comes
when a situation becomes serious or an important decision has to be made You know that when it comes to the crunch, she will do what needs to be done.
Usage notes: also used in the form at crunch time with the same meaning: She's the kind of player who's going to score at crunch time.
See also: come, crunch

if/when it comes to the crunch

if you talk about what someone will do if it comes to the crunch, you mean what they will do if a situation becomes serious or they have to make an important decision If it comes to the crunch, will she play well enough to win? Don't worry. Ben will be right there with us when it comes to the crunch.
See also: come, crunch, if

crunch numbers

Perform numerous calculations or process a large amount of numerical data. For example, Preparing John's presentation to the Federal Reserve Board required many hours of crunching numbers . This term originated with the computer age and indeed still applies mostly to the operations of computers. [Slang; second half of 1900s]
See also: crunch, number

crunch time

A period when pressure to succeed is great, often toward the end of an undertaking. For example, It's crunch time-we only have two more days to finish. This term employs crunch in the sense of "a critical situation or test." [Slang; 1970s]
See also: crunch, time

budget squeeze

and budget crunch
n. a situation where there is not enough money in the budget. Facing another budget squeeze, the legislators were forced to put off their pay increase. If it wasn’t for the budget crunch, I’d get a good raise this year.
See also: budget, squeeze

budget crunch

See also: budget, crunch


n. a crisis; a time of pressure or tightness, especially of a budget. The budget crunch meant that we couldn’t take trips to Europe anymore.

number crunching

n. using a computer to solve enormously complicated or complex mathematical problems. I don’t do a lot of number crunching, so I don’t need a terribly fast machine.
See also: crunch, number