crab

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English[edit]

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A crab

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English crabbe, from Old English crabba, from Proto-Germanic *krabbô (compare Dutch krab, Low German Krabb, Swedish krabba), from *krabbōną 'to creep, crawl' (compare East Frisian kraabje, Dutch krabben, Bavarian German krepsen), from Proto-Indo-European *grobʰ- (scratch, claw at), a variant of *gerebʰ-. More at carve.

Noun[edit]

crab (plural crabs)

  1. (zoology) A crustacean of the infraorder Brachyura, having five pairs of legs, the foremost of which are in the form of claws, and a carapace.
    • 1959, Georgette Heyer, chapter 1, The Unknown Ajax:
      But Richmond [] appeared to lose himself in his own reflections. Some pickled crab, which he had not touched, had been removed with a damson pie; and his sister saw [] that he had eaten no more than a spoonful of that either.
  2. A bad-tempered person.
  3. (in plural crabs, informal) An infestation of pubic lice, Pthirus pubis.
    Although crabs themselves are an easily treated inconvenience, the patient and his partner(s) clearly run major STD risks.
  4. (slang) A playing card with the rank of three.
  5. (rowing) A position in rowing where the oar is pushed under the rigger by the force of the water.
  6. A defect in an outwardly normal object that may render it inconvenient and troublesome to use.
    • 1915, W.S. Maugham, Of Human Bondage, chapter 116:
      -- "I suppose you wouldn't like to do a locum for a month on the South coast? Three guineas a week with board and lodging." -- "I wouldn't mind," said Philip. -- "It's at Farnley, in Dorsetshire. Doctor South. You'd have to go down at once; his assistant has developed mumps. I believe it's a very pleasant place." There was something in the secretary's manner that puzzled Philip. It was a little doubtful. -- "What's the crab in it?" he asked.
    • 1940, Horace Annesley Vachell, Little Tyrannies
      Arrested by the low price of another “desirable residence”, I asked “What's the crab?” The agent assured me that there was no crab. I fell in love with this house at sight. Happily, I discovered that it was reputed to be haunted.
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

crab (third-person singular simple present crabs, present participle crabbing, simple past and past participle crabbed)

  1. (intransitive) To fish for crabs.
  2. (transitive, US, slang) To ruin.
    • 1940, Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely, Penguin 2010, p. 224:
      ‘Just so we understand each other,’ he said after a pause. ‘If you crab this case, you'll be in a jam.’
  3. (intransitive) To complain.
  4. (intransitive, nautical, aviation) To drift sideways or to leeward (by analogy with the movement of a crab).
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ham. Nav. Encyc to this entry?)
  5. (transitive) To navigate (an aircraft, e.g. a glider) sideways against an air current in order to maintain a straight-line course.
  6. (obsolete, World War I), to fly slightly off the straight-line course towards an enemy aircraft, as the machine guns on early aircraft did not allow firing through the propeller disk.
  7. (rare) To back out of something.
    • 1960, P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter XV:
      “Nothing can possibly go wrong.” “Just as you say, sir. But I still have that feeling.” The blood of the Woosters is hot, and I was about to tell him in set terms what I thought of his bally feeling, when I suddenly spotted what it was that was making him crab the act.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Middle English crabbe, of Germanic origin, plausibly from Scandinavian, cognate with Swedish dialect scrabba

Noun[edit]

crab (plural crabs)

  1. The crab apple or wild apple.
    • 1610, The Tempest, by Shakespeare, act 2 scene 2
      I prithee, let me bring thee where crabs grow;
      And I with my long nails will dig thee pig-nuts;
  2. The tree bearing crab apples, which has a dogbane-like bitter bark with medical use.
  3. A cudgel made of the wood of the crab tree; a crabstick.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Garrick to this entry?)
  4. A movable winch or windlass with powerful gearing, used with derricks, etc.
  5. A form of windlass, or geared capstan, for hauling ships into dock, etc.
  6. A machine used in ropewalks to stretch the yarn.
  7. A claw for anchoring a portable machine.
Synonyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]

Verb[edit]

crab (third-person singular simple present crabs, present participle crabbing, simple past and past participle crabbed)

  1. (obsolete) To irritate, make surly or sour
  2. To be ill-tempered; to complain or find fault.
    • Glanvill
      Sickness sours or crabs our nature.
  3. (British dialect) To cudgel or beat, as with a crabstick
    (Can we find and add a quotation of J. Fletcher to this entry?)

Etymology 3[edit]

Possibly a corruption of the genus name Carapa

Noun[edit]

crab (plural crabs)

  1. The tree species Carapa guianensis, native of South America.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 4[edit]

Alternation of carabiner

Noun[edit]

crab (plural crabs)

  1. Short for carabiner.

References[edit]

  • Weisenberg, Michael (2000) The Official Dictionary of Poker. MGI/Mike Caro University. ISBN 978-1880069523
  • Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of the English Language. Internatinal Edition. combined with Britannica World Language Dictionary. Chicago-London etc., Encyclopaedia Britannica, inc., 1965.


Anagrams[edit]


Romanian[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From French crabe.

Noun[edit]

crab m (plural crabi)

  1. crab

See also[edit]