verb (used with object), cribbed, crib·bing.

verb (used without object), cribbed, crib·bing.

  1. to use a crib in examinations, homework, translating, etc.
  2. to steal; plagiarize.
(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. 2019

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



a child's bed with slatted wooden sides; cot
a cattle stall or pen
a fodder rack or manger
a bin or granary for storing grain, etc
a small crude cottage or room
US informal a house or residence
NZ a weekend cottage: term is South Island usage only
any small confined space
informal a brothel
a wicker basket
a representation of the manger in which the infant Jesus was laid at birth
informal a theft, esp of another's writing or thoughts
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
short for cribbage
cribbage the discard pile
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
a storage area for floating logs contained by booms
Australian and NZ a packed lunch taken to work

verb cribs, cribbing or cribbed

(tr) to put or enclose in or as if in a crib; furnish with a crib
(tr) informal to steal (another's writings or thoughts)
(intr) informal to copy either from a crib or from someone else during a lesson or examination
(tr) to line (a construction hole) with timber beams, logs, or planks
(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