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From crag (rocky outcrop; rugged steep rock or cliff) +‎ -s- (genitival interfix equivalent to -’s) +‎ -man.[1]



cragsman (plural cragsmen)

  1. A (skilful) male climber of crags.
    • 1816, [Walter Scott], chapter VII, in The Antiquary. [], volume I, Edinburgh: [] James Ballantyne and Co. for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, OCLC 226649000, page 166:
      Francie o'Fowlsheugh, and he was the best craigsman that ever speel'd heugh, (mair by token, he brake his neck upon the Dunbuy of Slaines,) wadua hae ventured upon the Halket-head craigs after sun-down— []
    • 1851, George Borrow, chapter VIII, in Lavengro; the Scholar—the Gypsy—the Priest. [], volume I, London: John Murray [], OCLC 1167545500, page 109:
      Meanwhile I had become a daring cragsman, a character to which an English lad has seldom opportunities of aspiring; for in England there are neither crags nor mountains.
    • 1860s, The Biblical Treasury: A Collection of Scripture Illustrations, for the Use of Sunday School Teachers and Bible Students, volume VI, London: Sunday School Union, [], OCLC 15088345, paragraph 1261, page 100:
      Those who "halt between two opinions," in the matter of religion, are like travellers who halt in indecision at cross-roads, with tempest and the night hurrying up behind them; [] like a cragsman, who has quitted hold on the rope by which he has let himself down from the overhanging brow of the cliff to the eagle's nest, and hesitates to spring and seize the rope in its rapidly diminishing oscillations.—Union Magazine.
    • 1910, John Buchan, “My Journey to the Winter-veld”, in Prester John, London; Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson and Sons, OCLC 490693546, page 86:
      A boyhood spent on the cliffs at Kirkcaple had made me a bold cragsman, and the porphyry of the Rooirand clearly gave excellent holds.
    • 1922, W[illiam] Barclay, “Along the Coast”, in Banffshire (Cambridge County Geographies), Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: University Press, OCLC 556754324, page 40:
      [H]ere and there are traversed by a winding footpath like a staircase, which few but native cragsmen are venturesome enough to scale.
    • 1960, C[live] S[taples] Lewis, “Introduction”, in The Four Loves, London: Geoffrey Bles, OCLC 1023588979, page 13:
      Let us suppose that we are doing a mountain walk to the village which is our home. At mid-day we come to the top of a cliff where we are, in space, very near it because it is just below us. We could drop a stone into it. But as we are no cragsmen we can't get down. We must go a long way round; five miles, maybe.
    • 1990, Peter Hopkirk, The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia, London: Folio Society, published 2010, OCLC 751790049, page 424:
      A skilled cragsman himself, he told his officers that he believed that a determined party of Gurkhas and other experienced climbers could reach the enemy by this route.
    • 2007 October 16, J[ulie] V[ictoria] Jones, A Sword from Red Ice (Sword of Shadows; 3)‎[1], New York, N.Y.: Tor, →ISBN:
      The cragsman was dragging a yearling kid by its hind leg. He seemed happy enough to set his own butchering duties aside to advise on the best cuts to preserve the tail and legs.


Coordinate terms[edit]



  1. ^ cragsman, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2021; “cragsman, n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.