- any decapod crustacean of the suborder Brachyura, having the eyes on short stalks and a short, broad, more or less flattened body, the abdomen being small and folded under the thorax.
- any of various other crustaceans, as the hermit crab, or other animals, as the horseshoe crab, resembling the true crabs.
- (initial capital letter) Astronomy, Astrology. the zodiacal constellation or sign Cancer.
- (initial capital letter) Astronomy. the Crab Nebula.
- any of various mechanical contrivances for hoisting or pulling.
- Aeronautics. the maneuver of crabbing.
- Informal. the crab louse.See under louse(def 1).
- (used with a singular verb)a losing throw, as two aces, in the game of hazard.
- to catch or attempt to catch crabs.
- to move sideways, diagonally, or obliquely, especially with short, abrupt bursts of speed; scuttle.
- Aeronautics. (of an aircraft) to head partly into the wind to compensate for drift.
- Nautical. to drift or advance with some movement sideways, especially when under tow.
- to move (a vehicle or object) sideways, diagonally, or obliquely, especially with short, abrupt movements.
- Aeronautics. to head (an aircraft) partly into the wind to compensate for drift.
- catch a crab, to make a faulty stroke in rowing, so that the oar strikes the water forcibly on the backstroke.
Origin of crab1
- a crab apple fruit or tree.
Origin of crab2
- Informal. an ill-tempered or grouchy person.
- Informal. to find fault; complain.
- (of hawks) to claw each other.
- Informal. to find fault with.
- to make ill-tempered or grouchy; embitter.
- (of a hawk) to claw (another hawk).
- Slang. to spoil.
Origin of crab3
Examples from the Web for crab
Salmon burgers and shrimp burgers are available, too, but they are no match for the crab.Become a Fried Seafood Believer at South Beach Market
Jane & Michael Stern
April 20, 2014
I watched the crab scramble for shelter as everything he knows turned on its side.Telling My Family That I’m Leaving Again for Afghanistan
April 9, 2014
Scott Murray attached a GoPro camera to a crab net—and was surprised with what he saw.Man Attaches GoPro Camera to Crab Net, Sees Crabs
January 6, 2014
The crab complaint," he writes, "has recurred more than a dozen times in newspapers around the country.GOP Aims to Cut $40 Billion Out of Food Stamps to Foil Illusory ‘Cheaters’
September 5, 2013
Add the crab meat, breadcrumbs, egg, mayonnaise, and sour cream.Foods That We Love But Shouldn’t
July 15, 2011
He covered the crab with its shell and taught it how to creep.Classic Myths
Mary Catherine Judd
Whose fault is it that I got the good colt and you got the crab?Old Man Curry
Charles E. (Charles Emmett) Van Loan
Half an hour before serving, clear a lobster or crab from the shell, and put it into the stew, adding a little salt and cayenne.
Anybody but Esther Tidditt, that is; she's down on him like a sheet anchor on a crab.Fair Harbor
Joseph Crosby Lincoln
And amongst all animals, you will tell us that the crab has loveliest eyes?The Symposium
- any chiefly marine decapod crustacean of the genus Cancer and related genera (section Brachyura), having a broad flattened carapace covering the cephalothorax, beneath which is folded the abdomen. The first pair of limbs are modified as pincersSee also fiddler crab, soft-shell crab, pea crab, oyster crab Related adjective: cancroid
- any of various similar or related arthropods, such as the hermit crab and horseshoe crab
- short for crab louse
- a manoeuvre in which an aircraft flies slightly into the crosswind to compensate for drift
- a mechanical lifting device, esp the travelling hoist of a gantry crane
- wrestling See Boston crab
- catch a crab rowing to make a stroke in which the oar either misses the water or digs too deeply, causing the rower to fall backwards
- (intr) to hunt or catch crabs
- (tr) to fly (an aircraft) slightly into a crosswind to compensate for drift
- (intr) nautical to move forwards with a slight sideways motion, as to overcome an offsetting current
- (intr) to move sideways
- (intr) to find fault; grumble
- (tr) mainly US to spoil (esp in the phrase crab someone's act)
- an irritable person
- draw the crabs Australian to attract unwelcome attention
- short for crab apple
- the Crab the constellation Cancer, the fourth sign of the zodiac
Word Origin and History for crab
crustacean, Old English crabba, from a general Germanic root (cf. Dutch krab, Old High German krebiz, German Krabbe, Old Norse krabbi "crab"), related to Low German krabben, Dutch krabelen "to scratch, claw," from PIE root *gerbh- "to scratch, carve" (see carve). The constellation name is attested in English from c.1000; the Crab Nebula (1868), however, is in Taurus, and is so called for its shape. French crabe (13c.) is from Dutch.
"fruit of the wild apple tree," c.1300, crabbe, perhaps from Scandinavian scrab, of obscure origin (cf. Swedish krabbäpple). The combination of "bad-tempered, combative" and "sour" in the two nouns crab naturally yielded a verb meaning of "to vex, irritate" (c.1400), later "to complain irritably, find fault" (c.1500). The noun meaning "sour person" is from 1570s.