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lobster

[lob-ster]
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noun, plural (especially collectively) lob·ster, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) lob·sters.
  1. any of various large, edible, marine, usually dull-green, stalk-eyed decapod crustaceans of the family Homaridae, especially of the genus Homarus, having large, asymmetrical pincers on the first pair of legs, one used for crushing and the other for cutting and tearing: the shell turns bright red when cooked.
  2. spiny lobster.
  3. any of various similar crustaceans, as certain crayfishes.
  4. the edible meat of these animals.
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Origin of lobster

before 1000; Middle English lopster, Old English loppestre literally, spidery creature (loppe spider (see lob1) + -stre -ster); cf. lop1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for lobster

lobster

noun plural -sters or -ster
  1. any of several large marine decapod crustaceans of the genus Homarus, esp H. vulgaris, occurring on rocky shores and having the first pair of limbs modified as large pincers
  2. any of several similar crustaceans, esp the spiny lobster
  3. the flesh of any of these crustaceans, eaten as a delicacy
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Word Origin

Old English loppestre, from loppe spider
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 lobster

n.

marine shellfish, Old English loppestre "lobster, locust," corruption of Latin locusta, lucusta "lobster, locust," by influence of Old English loppe "spider," a variant of lobbe. The ending of Old English loppestre is the fem. agent noun suffix (cf. Baxter, Webster; see -ster), which approximated the Latin sound.

Perhaps a transferred use of the Latin word; trilobite fossils in Worcestershire limestone quarries were known colloquially as locusts, which seems to be the generic word for "unidentified arthropod," as apple is for "foreign fruit." OED says the Latin word originally meant "lobster or some similar crustacean, the application to the locust being suggested by the resemblance in shape." Locusta in the sense "lobster" also appears in French (langouste now "crawfish, crayfish," but in Old French "lobster" and "locust;" a 13c. psalter has God giving over the crops of Egypt to the langoustes) and Old Cornish (legast). As slang for "a British soldier" since 1640s, originally in reference to the jointed armor of the Roundhead cuirassiers, later (1660) to the red coat.

Sir William Waller having received from London [in June 1643] a fresh regiment of five hundred horse, under the command of sir Arthur Haslerigge, which were so prodigiously armed that they were called by the other side the regiment of lobsters, because of their bright iron shells with which they were covered, being perfect curasseers. [Clarendon, "History of the Rebellion," 1647]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper