adjective, crab·bi·er, crab·bi·est.

Informal. grouchy; ill-natured; irritable; peevish.

Origin of crabby

First recorded in 1540–50; crab3 + -y1
Related formscrab·bi·ly, adverbcrab·bi·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for crabbiness


adjective -bier or -biest

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

Word Origin and History for crabbiness



1520s, in now-obsolete sense "crooked, gnarled, rough," from extended sense of crab (n.1) + -y (2). Meaning "disagreeable, sour, peevish" is attested from 1776, American English. Both senses were found earlier in crabbed.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper