late 14c., "cause to contract or be wrinkled or wavy." Old English had gecrympan "to crimp, curl," but the modern word probably is from Middle Dutch or Low German crimpen/krimpen "to shrink, crimp." Sense of "bend back or inward, draw together" is from 1712. Related: Crimped; crimping.
"that which has been crimped or curled," 1863, "natural curl in wool fiber," from crimp (v.). In reference to crimped hair by 1867. To put a crimp in or on (something) is by 1896, U.S. slang.