See more synonyms for crib on
  1. a child's bed with enclosed sides.
  2. a stall or pen for cattle.
  3. a rack or manger for fodder, as in a stable or barn.
  4. a bin for storing grain, salt, etc.
  5. Informal.
    1. a translation, list of correct answers, or other illicit aid used by students while reciting, taking exams, or the like; pony.
    2. plagiarism.
    3. a petty theft.
  6. a room, closet, etc., in a factory or the like, in which tools are kept and issued to workers.
  7. a shallow, separate section of a bathing area, reserved for small children.
  8. any confined space.
  9. Slang. a house, shop, etc., frequented by thieves or regarded by thieves as a likely place for burglarizing.
  10. Building Trades, Civil Engineering. any of various cellular frameworks of logs, squared timbers, or steel or concrete objects of similar form assembled in layers at right angles, often filled with earth and stones and used in the construction of foundations, dams, retaining walls, etc.
  11. a barrier projecting part of the way into a river and then upward, acting to reduce the flow of water and as a storage place for logs being floated downstream.
  12. a lining for a well or other shaft.
  13. Slang. one's home; pad.
  14. Cribbage. a set of cards made up by equal contributions from each player's hand, and belonging to the dealer.
  15. a cheap, ill-kept brothel.
  16. a wicker basket.
  17. British, Australian. lunch, especially a cold lunch carried from home to work and eaten by a laborer on the job; snack.
verb (used with object), cribbed, crib·bing.
  1. Informal. to pilfer or steal, especially to plagiarize (another's writings or ideas).
  2. to confine in or as if in a crib.
  3. to provide with a crib or cribs.
  4. to line with timber or planking.
verb (used without object), cribbed, crib·bing.
  1. Informal.
    1. to use a crib in examinations, homework, translating, etc.
    2. to steal; plagiarize.
  2. (of a horse) to practice cribbing.

Origin of crib

before 1000; Middle English cribbe, Old English crib(b); cognate with Dutch krib, German Krippe; cf. crèche
Related formsun·crib, verb (used with object), un·cribbed, un·crib·bing. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for crib

bunk, cot, rack, bin, box, bassinet, manger, cradle, stall

Examples from the Web for crib

Contemporary Examples of crib

Historical Examples of crib

  • She started forward, but Martin stepped between herself and the crib.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • How'd you like to be lyin' helpless in a crib with a big rat gnawin' your ear?

  • "A crib that will soon house more than corn," said the sergeant.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • The farmer might come out at any time to his crib, and they felt that they must be up and away.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • For their construing I have been given what schoolboys call a crib.

    Another Sheaf

    John Galsworthy

British Dictionary definitions for crib


  1. a child's bed with slatted wooden sides; cot
  2. a cattle stall or pen
  3. a fodder rack or manger
  4. a bin or granary for storing grain, etc
  5. a small crude cottage or room
  6. US informal a house or residence
  7. NZ a weekend cottage: term is South Island usage only
  8. any small confined space
  9. informal a brothel
  10. a wicker basket
  11. a representation of the manger in which the infant Jesus was laid at birth
  12. informal a theft, esp of another's writing or thoughts
  13. Also called (esp US): pony informal, mainly British a translation of a foreign text or a list of answers used by students, often illicitly, as an aid in lessons, examinations, etc
  14. short for cribbage
  15. cribbage the discard pile
  16. Also called: cribwork a framework of heavy timbers laid in layers at right angles to one another, used in the construction of foundations, mines, etc
  17. a storage area for floating logs contained by booms
  18. Australian and NZ a packed lunch taken to work
verb cribs, cribbing or cribbed
  1. (tr) to put or enclose in or as if in a crib; furnish with a crib
  2. (tr) informal to steal (another's writings or thoughts)
  3. (intr) informal to copy either from a crib or from someone else during a lesson or examination
  4. (tr) to line (a construction hole) with timber beams, logs, or planks
  5. (intr) informal to grumble
Derived Formscribber, noun

Word Origin for crib

Old English cribb; related to Old Saxon kribbia, Old High German krippa; compare Middle High German krēbe basket
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 crib

Old English cribbe "manger, fodder bin in cowsheds and fields," from a West Germanic root (cf. Old Saxon kribbia "manger;" Old Frisian and Middle Dutch kribbe; Old High German krippa, German Krippe "crib, manger") probably related to German krebe "basket." Meaning "child's bed with barred sides" is 1640s; probably from frequent use in reference to the manger where infant Jesus was laid. Thieves' slang for "dwelling house" dates to at least 1812, but late 20c. use probably is independent. The Old High German version passed to French and became creche.


"steal," 17c. from crib (n.) in a secondary sense "a basket;" this probably also is the source of student slang meaning "plagiarize" (1778). Related: Cribbed; cribbing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper