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.

    Many families in the order Decapoda, class Malacostraca

    • ‘If we ate a crab with its shell, we would have pretty sore gums.’
    • ‘In fact, more tasty blue crabs are caught and sold than any other Hudson River species.’
    • ‘Eastern populations eat numerous horseshoe crabs during migration.’
    • ‘Not so many people collect the crabs today as it's so labour-intensive.’
    • ‘There really is something very unbecoming about grown men chasing crabs on beaches alone.’
    • ‘There are also sand crabs burrowing in the sand, which make good bait too.’
    • ‘Scientists found male fiddler crabs often aid their neighbors when intruders threaten to move in.’
    • ‘Several large edible crabs have burrowed under the mast and others live inside the hollow structure.’
    • ‘Will I be able to catch the mud crab?’
    • ‘Generic placement of fossil spider crabs is often difficult because definitive criteria are rarely available for study.’
    • ‘Young fish, young crabs and molting crabs have lost shelter and refuge from their predators.’
    • ‘Male horseshoe crabs have two mating tactics that are associated with phenotype.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The torch picked out a tiny red hermit crab as it climbed laboriously across the top of a sponge.’
    • ‘We attributed the effect of predator exclusion primarily to juvenile green crabs and fish.’
    • ‘A large red crab scuttled across the metal, hoping to avoid the snapper.’
    • ‘Fishers in New Brunswick will disobey restrictions on crab fishing this spring.’
    • ‘Shining our torches onto the sand reveals thousands of hermit crabs scuttling from the light.’
    • ‘You should move to Florida and hunt crabs on the beach all day in the nude.’
    1. 1.1mass noun The flesh of a crab as food.
      • ‘The buffet is a mountainous feast of crab, salmon, prawns and beef.’
      • ‘The menu included Pembrokeshire crab and roast fillet of Welsh Beef.’
      • ‘We also don't know anyone who eats crab and watermelon together.’
      • ‘The salad included some very artificial crab.’
      • ‘Other foods high in zinc include oysters, crab, and fortified cereals.’
      • ‘Clean spanner crabs and break crab into portions.’
      • ‘Esther is with Betsy when she gets food poisoning from eating crab.’
      • ‘He reported that freshwater crab was a popular food among many tribes of northeastern region.’
      • ‘Place the ring mould on top and fill about a third with dressed crab.’
      • ‘The seasoning was an Old Bay seasoning which, I believe, usually goes with crab and other sea food.’
      • ‘Special occasions call for a gumbo and vegetable soup with crab or salted meat (calalou).’
      • ‘Sarah chose the east coast crab with dill and mustard sauce, while I opted for the seared pigeon breasts.’
      • ‘From Cornish Blue shark steaks to Scarborough fresh-dressed crab, the range of fish is bewildering and the quality peerless.’
      • ‘Start your evening with assorted cold meats, crab, and jasmine smoked chicken.’
      • ‘I had dressed Cornish crab which was absolutely delicious and not too rich as crab can sometimes be.’
      • ‘Sometimes salt beef or salt cod are used, or corned beef or crab.’
      • ‘Fresh, unadulterated, chilled, lightly seasoned, fabulous crab is one of my most favourite foods.’
      • ‘It's a thin slice of veal with crab on top, topped with a sauce.’
      • ‘The meats consisted of soft shelled crab covered in spices, tender roast beef and chicken.’
      • ‘Callaloo is a mixture of okra and puréed dasheen leaves, with either crab or salted pork added for flavor.’
    2. 1.2the Crab The zodiacal sign or constellation Cancer.
  • 2A louse that infests human body hair, especially in the genital region, causing extreme irritation.

    Phthirus pubis, family Pediculidae, order Anoplura

    • ‘I fear lung disease, heart disease, cancer, losing control of my bladder and bowels, paralysis and crabs in my underpants.’
    • ‘Same recipe used externally for crabs, lice, and all external parasites.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘One way to test that possibility will be to look at the other species of lice that live on humans - crabs, or Pthirus pubis.’
    • ‘Over the last two years she has been treated for gonorrhea and crab lice.’
    • ‘Commonly called crabs, these lice occur on the skin and hair of your pubic areas and on eyelashes.’
    • ‘And in no other job will I catch crabs from innocently sitting in the staff lounge on an extremely festy couch… mmm.’
    • ‘Pubic lice or crabs are unpleasant, but once diagnosed are thankfully easily treated.’
    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.’
      • ‘Three weeks later, he had a healthy dose of crabs.’
      • ‘So I get pregnant and get the crabs to boot.’
      • ‘I never had one girl come down with an STD, not even crabs.’
  • 3A machine with pincer-like arms for lifting heavy weights.

verb

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

    ‘he began crabbing sideways across the roof’
    • ‘I'd had enough and leveled off, because the winds were causing us to crab significantly.’
    • ‘This old car has had a decent hit on the right rear quarter and crabs its way down the road.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘One of them was on his back and was rapidly crabbing backwards away from the patrol car.’
    • ‘He has retained the tendency to crab a bit across the field.’
    • ‘Their forwards were absolutely dominant, crabbing down the pitch, albeit at a tortuously slow rate.’
    • ‘Each time the aircraft is forced to crab into the wind the groundspeed is reduced.’
    • ‘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.’
    illegible, hard to read, indecipherable, unintelligible
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At low speed, this system will let you crab the boat completely sideways.’
  • 2no object Fish for crabs.

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

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.’
      • ‘Coles caught a crab midway through their Olympic heat, sending both of the rowers flying out of the boat.’
      • ‘There was still some way to go; to catch a crab now might slow the boat down and hand it to them.’
      • ‘Under threat for the lead with 600 metres to go, Lithuania caught a crab and Argentina was able to push past and finish first.’
      • ‘In a very unusual display at this level of rowing, Kucharski caught a crab with 200 metres to go pushing them further back.’
      • ‘Just strokes before the line, Great Britain's second crew caught a crab which slowed them down to a crawl.’
      • ‘Australia caught a crab and dropped to third while the United States slipped out of the qualification spots.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The South Africans then caught a crab just metres before the line which dropped them out of qualifying position.’
  • 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.’
      • ‘Great was the annoyance of the Australian engineers preparing the crossing when this lone tank 'drew the crabs' on them.’
      • ‘As you might imagine these draw the “crabs” and the enemy shelled us for a week.’
      • ‘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'.’
      • ‘Footsloggers had a rooted dislike for civilian vehicles advancing with them—"they drew the crabs".’
      1. 1.1informal Attract unwanted attention.
        ‘once a complaint is made it has to be investigated, thereby drawing the crabs’
        • ‘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'.’
        • ‘Public killing 'draws the crabs'; kill a few men, and suddenly the constabulary is all over you.’
        • ‘The women are pretty ratty on Daph for drawing the crabs, and so is her boss for that matter.’

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
  • 1no object Grumble about something petty.

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