1825, "to bite, crush with or as with the teeth," intensive form of crunch (v.); ultimately imitative (see scr-). The colloquial meaning "to squeeze, crush" is by 1835 (implied in scrunched). The intransitive sense of "contract oneself into a more compact shape" is by 1884. Related: Scrunching. As a noun, "noise made by scrunching," by 1857; as an adjective, scrunchy is attested by 1905.