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

Examples from the Web for crabby

Contemporary Examples of crabby

Historical Examples of crabby

  • When the latter arrived he seemed in a crabby frame of mind.

  • Let us go downstairs after old Crabby is to bed and play some trick on him.

    The Putnam Hall Rivals

    Arthur M. Winfield

  • Crabby—old Crabby Tompkins, a trapper, is buried in the sand on the Frazer.

    The Hunted Woman

    James Oliver Curwood

  • You know, you crabby dear, you wouldn't neglect an old dog or an old pony after it had served you.

  • There comes a time when a woman has to make up her mind to choose between being called a 'dear old soul' or a 'crabby old thing.'

British Dictionary definitions for crabby


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 crabby

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