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hermit crab

any of numerous crabs, especially of the genera Pagurus and Eupagurus, that protect their soft uncovered abdomen by occupying the castoff shell of a univalve mollusk.
Origin of hermit crab
First recorded in 1725-35 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hermit crab
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Anim., iv), or that touch in the description of the hermit crab (Hist.

    Form and Function E. S. (Edward Stuart) Russell
  • In my case, I flitted like a hermit crab from one used shell to another.

    Edge of the Jungle William Beebe
  • Some creatures, like the hermit crab, are abundant everywhere.

  • In what way might the Anemone be of use to its partner, the hermit crab?

    On the Seashore

    R. Cadwallader Smith
  • Alone, I do a good deal of that, friend, I can't help it—hermit crab's a soft blob of nothing-much inside the borrowed shell.

  • You may remember that we noticed an Anemone which lived on the stolen home of the hermit crab.

    On the Seashore

    R. Cadwallader Smith
  • In the same way the hermit crab goes from shell to shell upon the beach, seeking one to its liking.

    Ways of Nature John Burroughs
  • The only sign of life was a hermit crab, perhaps a half inch in length, dragging his home of the moment—a tiny spiral shell.

    The Wailing Octopus Harold Leland Goodwin
  • The crowd finds these systems ready-made and merely backs into them and hides itself like a hermit crab in a deserted seashell.

    The Behavior of Crowds Everett Dean Martin
British Dictionary definitions for hermit crab

hermit crab

any small soft-bodied decapod crustacean of the genus Pagurus and related genera, living in and carrying about the empty shells of whelks or similar molluscs
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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