American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of various predominantly marine crustaceans of the division Brachyura within the order Decapoda, characterized by a broad flattened cephalothorax covered by a hard carapace with a small abdomen concealed beneath it, short antennae, and five pairs of legs, of which the anterior pair are large and pincerlike.
- n. Any of various similar related crustaceans, such as the hermit crab or king crab.
- n. A horseshoe crab.
- n. A crab louse.
- n. Slang Infestation by crab lice.
- n. The maneuvering of an aircraft partially into a crosswind to compensate for drift.
- n. A machine for handling or hoisting heavy weights.
- v. To hunt or catch crabs.
- v. To scurry sideways in the manner of a crab.
- v. To drift diagonally or sideways, especially when under tow.
- v. To direct an aircraft into a crosswind.
- v. To direct (an aircraft) partly into a crosswind to eliminate drift.
- v. To cause to move or scurry sideways.
- idiom. catch a crab To make a faulty stroke in rowing that causes the blade of the oar to strike the water on the recovery stroke.
- n. A crab apple tree or its fruit.
- n. A quarrelsome, ill-tempered person.
- v. Informal To find fault; criticize someone or something.
- v. Informal To interfere with and ruin; spoil.
- v. Informal To find fault with; complain about.
- v. To make ill-tempered or sullen.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A popular name for all the stalk-eyed, ten-footed, and short-tailed or soft-tailed crustaceans constituting the subclass Podophthalmia, order Decapoda, and suborders Brachyura and Anomura: distinguished from lobsters, shrimps, prawns, crawfish, and other long-tailed or macrurous crustaceans, by shortness of body, the abdomen or so-called tail being reduced and folded under the thorax and constituting the apron, or otherwise modified. See cut under Brachyura. The anterior limbs are not used for progression, being chelate or furnished with pincer-like claws, and constituting chelipeds. The hinge-like joints of the ambulatory limbs are so disposed that the animal can move on land in any direction without turning; but its commonest mode of progression is sidewise, either to the right or the left. The eyes are compound and set on movable eye-stalks or ophthalmites. (See cut under
stalk-eyed.) The common edible crab of Europe is Cancer pagurus. A smaller species also eaten is the shore-crab, or green crab, Carcinus mœnas. The common blue or edible crab of the United States is Lupa diacantha, now called Callinectes hastatusor Neptunus hastatus; when molting, it is called soft-shelled crab. The small crabs found in oysters are species of Pinnotheridæ, called pea-crabs. Those which have soft tails and live in univalve shells are hermit-crabs, Paguridæ. Tree-crabs are of the genus Birgus. Land-crabs constitute the family Gecarcinidæ. Spider-crabs are of the genus Maia, as M. squinado, the corwich of Europe; and the name is extended to many other maioid forms, among them the largest of crabs, sometimes from 12 to 18 feet across the outstretched legs. Fiddler-crabs belong to the genus Gelasimus, of the family Ocypodidæ, which also contains the racer-crabs or horsemen, species of Ocypoda, so called from their swiftness. Rock-crab is a name of various species of Cancridæ proper. Box-crabs belong to the family Calappidæ. Porcelain-crabs are small bright-colored species of Porcellanidæ. Some handsome species of Portunidœ are called lady-crabs; and members of this family are also known as swimming crabs, paddle-crabs, shuttle-crabs, etc., the hinder legs being broadened and flattened to serve for swimming, as in our common edible crab. The red crab is Cancer productus. Many other crabs are distinguished by qualifying terms. See the compounds and the technical names.
- n. Some crustacean likened to or mistaken for a crab: as, the glass-crabs; the king-crabs. See the compounds.
- n. A crab-louse.
- n. Cancer, a constellation and sign of the zodiac. See Cancer
- n. An arch.
- n. plural The lowest cast at hazard.
- n. A name of various machines and mechanical contrivances. An engine with three claws for launching ships and heaving them in the dock.
- n. Among professional oarsmen, to sink the oar-blade so deeply in the water that it cannot he lifted easily, and hence tends to throw the rower out of the boat.
- To fish for or catch crabs: as, to go crabbing.
- Figuratively, to act like a crab in crawling backward; back out; “crawfish”: as, he tried to crab out of it.
- n. A small, tart, and somewhat astringent apple, of which there are several varieties, cultivated chiefly for ornament and to be made into preserves, jelly, etc.; the crab-apple.
- n. The tree producing the fruit. The wild species of northern Europe is the original of the common apple, Pyrus Malus. Of the cultivated crabs, the Siberian crab (P. prunifolia), the Chinese crab (P. spectabilis), and the cherry-crab (P. baccata) are all natives of northern Asia. Several species of Pyrus in the United States are also known as crab-apples, but are of no value. See
- n. A walking-stick or club made of the wood of the crab-apple; a crabstick.
- To irritate; fret; vex; provoke; make peevish, cross, sour, or bitter, as a person or his disposition; make crabbed.
- To break or bruise.
- To be peevish or cross.
- In falconry, to seize each other when fighting: said of hawks.
- n. A crabbed, sour-tempered, peevish, morose person.
- Sour; rough; harsh to the taste.
- n. Iu Australia, the marine crustacean, Scylla serrata; also, Telphusa transversa, a crustacean found in fresh water.
- n. plural Same as crabyaws.
- n. A cliff-crab, especially Grapsus pictus.
- To ‘pull to pieces’; criticize or find fault with; hence, to hinder, spoil or defeat by adverse criticism of trivial details.
- n. 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.
- n. A bad-tempered person.
- n. informal An infestation of pubic lice.
- n. slang A playing card with the rank of three.
- n. Short for carabiner.
- n. rowing A position in rowing where the oar is pushed under the rigger by the force of the water.
- n. A defect in an outwardly normal object that may render it inconvenient and troublesome to use.
- v. intransitive To fish for crabs.
- v. transitive, US, slang To ruin.
- v. intransitive To complain.
- v. intransitive (by analogy with the movement of a crab) To move sideways of an aircraft, such as a glider.
- v. transitive (by analogy with the movement of a crab) To navigate (an aircraft, e.g. a glider) sideways against an air current in order to maintain a straight-line course.
- v. obsolete , 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.
- v. rare To back out of something.
- n. The crab apple or wild apple.
- n. The tree bearing crab apples, which has a dogbane-like bitter bark with medical use.
- v. obsolete To irritate, make surly or sour
- v. To be ill-tempered; to complain or find fault.
- v. To cudgel or beat, as with a crabstick
- n. The tree species Carapa guianensis, native of South America.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) One of the brachyuran Crustacea. They are mostly marine, and usually have a broad, short body, covered with a strong shell or carapace. The abdomen is small and curled up beneath the body.
- n. The zodiacal constellation Cancer.
- n. (Bot.) A crab apple; -- so named from its harsh taste.
- n. obsolete A cudgel made of the wood of the crab tree; a crabstick.
- n. A movable winch or windlass with powerful gearing, used with derricks, etc.
- n. A form of windlass, or geared capstan, for hauling ships into dock, etc.
- n. A machine used in ropewalks to stretch the yarn.
- n. A claw for anchoring a portable machine.
- v. obsolete To make sour or morose; to embitter.
- v. obsolete To beat with a crabstick.
- v. (Naut.) To drift sidewise or to leeward, as a vessel.
- adj. Sour; rough; austere.
- v. scurry sideways like a crab
- n. the fourth sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about June 21 to July 22
- v. complain.
- n. decapod having eyes on short stalks and a broad flattened carapace with a small abdomen folded under the thorax and pincers
- n. (astrology) a person who is born while the sun is in Cancer
- n. a louse that infests the pubic region of the human body
- v. fish for crab
- n. a quarrelsome grouch
- n. the edible flesh of any of various crabs
- n. a stroke of the oar that either misses the water or digs too deeply
- v. direct (an aircraft) into a crosswind
- From Middle English crabbe, from Old English crabba, from Proto-Germanic *krabbô (cf. Dutch krab, Low German Krabb, Swedish krabba), from *krabbōnan 'to creep, crawl' (cf. East Frisian kraabje, Low German/Dutch krabben, German (Bavarian) krepsen), from Proto-Indo-European *grobʰ- 'to scratch, claw at', variant of *gerebʰ-. More at carve. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English crabbe, from Old English crabba. Middle English crabbe, possibly from crabbe, crab (shellfish); see crab1. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Speaking about the work he sees himself doing as child and youth advocate, Nieman says he sees young people suffering from what he calls the crab-pot syndrome.”
“A dried-out horseshoe crab is a delicate thing and there's no way it would survive the flight in my checked baggage.”
“March 13th, 2010 at 11: 51 am dbadass says: the crab is in the freezer but I do have a bunch of defrosted lobster tails.”
“Sorry, Tashby but the blue crab is no more in inventory at Super Lake as best I can see.”
“My favourite and most glamorous crab is Malus hupehensis from China.”
“Prak worked in crab houses around Bayou La Batre before the oil hit.”
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