Main definitions of crab in English

: crab1crab2crab3

crab1

noun

  • 1A crustacean, found chiefly on seashores, with a broad carapace, stalked eyes, and five pairs of legs, the first pair of which are modified as pincers.

    • ‘Eastern populations eat numerous horseshoe crabs during migration.’
    • ‘Large edible crabs are everywhere, mainly females that are here to spawn.’
    • ‘Without warning the stalks supporting the crab's beady black eyes shoot straight up at me.’
    • ‘In fact, more tasty blue crabs are caught and sold than any other Hudson River species.’
    • ‘Scientists found male fiddler crabs often aid their neighbors when intruders threaten to move in.’
    • ‘The torch picked out a tiny red hermit crab as it climbed laboriously across the top of a sponge.’
    • ‘Not so many people collect the crabs today as it's so labour-intensive.’
    • ‘Generic placement of fossil spider crabs is often difficult because definitive criteria are rarely available for study.’
    • ‘If we ate a crab with its shell, we would have pretty sore gums.’
    • ‘Several large edible crabs have burrowed under the mast and others live inside the hollow structure.’
    • ‘Male horseshoe crabs have two mating tactics that are associated with phenotype.’
    • ‘You should move to Florida and hunt crabs on the beach all day in the nude.’
    • ‘We attributed the effect of predator exclusion primarily to juvenile green crabs and fish.’
    • ‘Shining our torches onto the sand reveals thousands of hermit crabs scuttling from the light.’
    • ‘There are also sand crabs burrowing in the sand, which make good bait too.’
    • ‘Will I be able to catch the mud crab?’
    • ‘Fishers in New Brunswick will disobey restrictions on crab fishing this spring.’
    • ‘Young fish, young crabs and molting crabs have lost shelter and refuge from their predators.’
    • ‘A large red crab scuttled across the metal, hoping to avoid the snapper.’
    • ‘There really is something very unbecoming about grown men chasing crabs on beaches alone.’
    1. 1.1[mass noun]The flesh of a crab as food.
      • ‘Special occasions call for a gumbo and vegetable soup with crab or salted meat (calalou).’
      • ‘It's a thin slice of veal with crab on top, topped with a sauce.’
      • ‘He reported that freshwater crab was a popular food among many tribes of northeastern region.’
      • ‘Start your evening with assorted cold meats, crab, and jasmine smoked chicken.’
      • ‘The menu included Pembrokeshire crab and roast fillet of Welsh Beef.’
      • ‘Place the ring mould on top and fill about a third with dressed crab.’
      • ‘The meats consisted of soft shelled crab covered in spices, tender roast beef and chicken.’
      • ‘Sometimes salt beef or salt cod are used, or corned beef or crab.’
      • ‘Esther is with Betsy when she gets food poisoning from eating crab.’
      • ‘The seasoning was an Old Bay seasoning which, I believe, usually goes with crab and other sea food.’
      • ‘We also don't know anyone who eats crab and watermelon together.’
      • ‘Sarah chose the east coast crab with dill and mustard sauce, while I opted for the seared pigeon breasts.’
      • ‘The buffet is a mountainous feast of crab, salmon, prawns and beef.’
      • ‘The salad included some very artificial crab.’
      • ‘From Cornish Blue shark steaks to Scarborough fresh-dressed crab, the range of fish is bewildering and the quality peerless.’
      • ‘Callaloo is a mixture of okra and puréed dasheen leaves, with either crab or salted pork added for flavor.’
      • ‘Fresh, unadulterated, chilled, lightly seasoned, fabulous crab is one of my most favourite foods.’
      • ‘Other foods high in zinc include oysters, crab, and fortified cereals.’
      • ‘Clean spanner crabs and break crab into portions.’
      • ‘I had dressed Cornish crab which was absolutely delicious and not too rich as crab can sometimes be.’
    2. 1.2The zodiacal sign or constellation Cancer.
  • 2A louse that infests human body hair, especially in the genital region, causing extreme irritation.

    • ‘Pubic lice or crabs are unpleasant, but once diagnosed are thankfully easily treated.’
    • ‘Over the last two years she has been treated for gonorrhea and crab lice.’
    • ‘Same recipe used externally for crabs, lice, and all external parasites.’
    • ‘I fear lung disease, heart disease, cancer, losing control of my bladder and bowels, paralysis and crabs in my underpants.’
    • ‘One way to test that possibility will be to look at the other species of lice that live on humans - crabs, or Pthirus pubis.’
    • ‘People can be infested with three types of lice: body lice, head lice and crab or pubic lice.’
    • ‘The third species is the pubic louse, Phthirus pubis, commonly known as the crab louse.’
    • ‘I believe the first use of pubic wigs was in ancient Egypt as the only cure that they had at the time for crabs.’
    • ‘And in no other job will I catch crabs from innocently sitting in the staff lounge on an extremely festy couch… mmm.’
    • ‘Commonly called crabs, these lice occur on the skin and hair of your pubic areas and on eyelashes.’
    1. 2.1informal An infestation of crab lice.
      ‘the time his friend had crabs’
      • ‘It seems that I have severe cases of genital warts, the clap, crabs, herpes and syphillis.’
      • ‘I never had one girl come down with an STD, not even crabs.’
      • ‘So I get pregnant and get the crabs to boot.’
      • ‘Three weeks later, he had a healthy dose of crabs.’
  • 3A machine with pincer-like arms for lifting heavy weights.

verb

  • 1[no object, with adverbial of direction] Move sideways or obliquely.

    ‘he began crabbing sideways across the roof’
    • ‘He has retained the tendency to crab a bit across the field.’
    • ‘I'd had enough and leveled off, because the winds were causing us to crab significantly.’
    • ‘Each time the aircraft is forced to crab into the wind the groundspeed is reduced.’
    • ‘One of them was on his back and was rapidly crabbing backwards away from the patrol car.’
    • ‘We set out to stage 6 with a car that was crabbing badly.’
    • ‘I tried to escape, crabbing sideways in an effort to crawl away.’
    • ‘They crabbed their way down the pitch before No.8 forced his way over for the winning try.’
    • ‘By crabbing into the wind, we can stay lined up with the runway centerline, but we'll actually come in at an angle to the runway.’
    • ‘Their forwards were absolutely dominant, crabbing down the pitch, albeit at a tortuously slow rate.’
    • ‘This old car has had a decent hit on the right rear quarter and crabs its way down the road.’
    illegible, hard to read, indecipherable, unintelligible
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object]Steer (an aircraft or ship) slightly sideways to compensate for a crosswind or current.
      ‘George crabbed the plane into the wind’
      • ‘As opposed to crabbing into the wind on final, use aileron to lean the aircraft into the wind.’
      • ‘At low speed, this system will let you crab the boat completely sideways.’
      • ‘I had to crab north and east to stay near the north road and to keep from being blown into the desert to the west.’
  • 2[no object] Fish for crabs.

    ‘watermen were crabbing on the bay’
    • ‘I know the area well, having fished and crabbed their for many years.’
    • ‘North Korea emphasizes the importance of crabbing to bring in much-needed foreign currency.’
    • ‘Virginia refused to comply with its quota, and now faces a complete ban on horseshoe crabbing.’
    • ‘When he was a boy, he had gone crabbing with his father on the Hudson River.’
    • ‘They learnt everything there is to know about crabbing from Marco's father, Emilio's grandfather.’
    • ‘He loved things like going crabbing as a boy, seaside activities, and the tightknit community of the 1950s.’
    • ‘She went crabbing and stayed cheerful even though the catch came to a grand total of one crab.’
    • ‘There were several people down there doing some crabbing.’
    • ‘They took note that it was crabbing season over here and they went crabbing in a major way.’
    • ‘They used to go duck hunting and crabbing and fishing and that's how they survived and raised all the family.’
    • ‘We spent many happy days fishing and crabbing there.’
    • ‘When I was a young boy in the 1930s, I had three loving uncles that took me fishing, crabbing and hunting.’
    • ‘And the season ends early, in October - they no longer can crab in November.’
    • ‘When I asked him what he liked most about crabbing, his short response said it all, ‘the freedom.’’
    • ‘More than 70 children came out of their shells to take part in a crabbing competition.’
    • ‘The dinghies are great for the river and they are excellent for things like crabbing in the sea.’
    • ‘When they come to the door, you're gonna ask them to come crabbing with us.’
    • ‘In 2001, the Texas Legislature approved a bill creating the first brief closed season for crabbing in Texas waters.’
    • ‘We went fishing, crabbing, and looked for the occasional pigeon and bat.’
    • ‘My biggest concern for crabbing is the inability of DNR to regulate crab pots.’

Phrases

  • catch a crab

    • Make a faulty stroke in which the oar is jammed under water or misses the water altogether.

      • ‘The two continued to press each other and nerves must have been affecting Raduenzel when she caught a crab with 600 metres to go.’
      • ‘Just strokes before the line, Great Britain's second crew caught a crab which slowed them down to a crawl.’
      • ‘In a very unusual display at this level of rowing, Kucharski caught a crab with 200 metres to go pushing them further back.’
      • ‘The South Africans then caught a crab just metres before the line which dropped them out of qualifying position.’
      • ‘Australia caught a crab and dropped to third while the United States slipped out of the qualification spots.’
      • ‘Under threat for the lead with 600 metres to go, Lithuania caught a crab and Argentina was able to push past and finish first.’
      • ‘There was still some way to go; to catch a crab now might slow the boat down and hand it to them.’
      • ‘Coles caught a crab midway through their Olympic heat, sending both of the rowers flying out of the boat.’
      • ‘With less than 100 metres to go Great Britain had a slight lead in the first of two repechages when bow, Alison Mowbray, caught a crab.’
  • draw the crabs

    • 1military slang Attract enemy fire.

      ‘a lone tank drew the crabs on them’
      • ‘The sergeant believed local treachery was brewing and that my white skin would draw the crabs.’
      • ‘Footsloggers had a rooted dislike for civilian vehicles advancing with them—"they drew the crabs".’
      • ‘He and his men no longer cared, however, now that Murdoch's struggles could not draw the crabs on them.’
      • ‘He reckoned it made him stand out when he got out into the jungle, and 'draw the crabs'.’
      • ‘As you might imagine these draw the “crabs” and the enemy shelled us for a week.’
      • ‘Great was the annoyance of the Australian engineers preparing the crossing when this lone tank 'drew the crabs' on them.’
      1. 1.1informal Attract unwanted attention.
        ‘once a complaint is made it has to be investigated, thereby drawing the crabs’
        • ‘The women are pretty ratty on Daph for drawing the crabs, and so is her boss for that matter.’
        • ‘Public killing 'draws the crabs'; kill a few men, and suddenly the constabulary is all over you.’
        • ‘Its inherited job is to 'keep the media barons happy with government while drawing the crabs of public opinion away from making the government accountable'.’

Origin

Old English crabba, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch krabbe, and more distantly to Dutch kreeft and German Krebs; also to crab.

Pronunciation:

crab

/krab/

Main definitions of crab in English

: crab1crab2crab3

crab2

noun

Pronunciation:

crab

/krab/

Main definitions of crab in English

: crab1crab2crab3

crab3

verb

informal
  • 1[no object] Grumble about something petty.

    ‘on picnics, I would crab about sand in my food’
    • ‘The President crabbed about the leak in his Monday press conference.’
    • ‘I had everything under control until you started crabbing about which books you hadn't read.’
    • ‘I'm going to finish this little pity party and get all my crabbing out at once.’
    • ‘We sure don't need any more songs crabbing about how superficial the entertainment industry is.’
    • ‘Even if you were that man himself, you have no reason to be crabbed at because I'm having a bad morning.’
    • ‘I have chattering and squealing, screeching and cooing, crabbing and carping.’
    • ‘She crabbed again when he didn't take advantage of the multi-laned road.’
    • ‘The city is crabbing today about clock management, and there was an onside kick late in the game.’
    • ‘I knew she was catching up on day's worth of missed sleep, so I didn't blame her for crabbing at me.’
    • ‘Yes, usually we crab when a strike puts us out.’
  • 2dated [with object] Act so as to spoil (something)

    ‘you're trying to crab my act’

Origin

Late 16th century (referring to hawks, meaning ‘claw or fight each other’): from Low German krabben; related to crab.

Pronunciation:

crab

/krab/