a crab, especially the blue crab, that has recently molted and therefore has a soft, edible shell.
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Origin of soft-shell crab
First recorded in 1835–45
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for soft-shell crab
a crab, esp of the edible species Cancer pagurus, that has recently moulted and has not yet formed its new shellCompare hard-shell crab
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