Veterinary Medicine. Also called crib-biting, wind-sucking. an injurious habit in which a horse bites its manger and as a result swallows air.
  1. a timber lining, closely spaced, as in a shaft or raise.
  2. pieces of timber for lining a shaft, raise, etc.
Building Trades, Civil Engineering. a system of cribs, as for retaining earth or for a building or the like being moved or having its foundations rebuilt.

Origin of cribbing

First recorded in 1635–45; crib + -ing1




a child's bed with enclosed sides.
a stall or pen for cattle.
a rack or manger for fodder, as in a stable or barn.
a bin for storing grain, salt, etc.
  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.
a room, closet, etc., in a factory or the like, in which tools are kept and issued to workers.
a shallow, separate section of a bathing area, reserved for small children.
any confined space.
Slang. a house, shop, etc., frequented by thieves or regarded by thieves as a likely place for burglarizing.
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.
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.
a lining for a well or other shaft.
Slang. one's home; pad.
Cribbage. a set of cards made up by equal contributions from each player's hand, and belonging to the dealer.
a cheap, ill-kept brothel.
a wicker basket.
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.

Informal. to pilfer or steal, especially to plagiarize (another's writings or ideas).
to confine in or as if in a crib.
to provide with a crib or cribs.
to line with timber or planking.

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

Examples from the Web for cribbing

Contemporary Examples of cribbing

  • Gibbs' cribbing: "milk," "bread," "eggs," "hope," and "change."

    The Daily Beast logo
    Sarah Palin's Money Man

    Samuel P. Jacobs

    February 10, 2010

Historical Examples of cribbing

  • There, by cribbing across the bottom, they got in a temporary line.

    Whispering Smith

    Frank H. Spearman

  • I'll keep watch, and you try your hand at cribbing some of their gas juice.

  • Cribbing some minutes from breakfast, I went up to his room.

  • The cribbing occurs in the general reflections devoted to the Renaissance.


    James Huneker

  • Cribbing in examinations he would have thought the limit of his crimes.

    The Gold Bat

    P. G. Wodehouse

British Dictionary definitions for cribbing



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 cribbing



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