Definition of crab apple in English:

crab apple

(also crab)


  • 1A small sour apple.

    • ‘I was busy picking the sour, early apples and crab apples off the ground.’
    • ‘I hate this ugly tree and the crab apple mess its leaves.’
    • ‘Wild fruit jellies, such as elderberry, rowanberry, sloe or crab apple, also make a great accompaniment.’
    • ‘Last weekend it was crab apple with sage, this weekend mint.’
    • ‘If you buy a crab apple today, it won't go sour on you.’
    • ‘He pulled out his slingshot and loaded it with a crab apple, and took aim at Parsons' broad back.’
    • ‘In the middle of a raging snowstorm I saw two robins greedily downing shriveled, frozen crab apples.’
    • ‘If they are very lucky there may be some fruit, wild plums or a crab apple.’
    • ‘Apples, crab apples, gooseberries, and some plums and grapes usually contain enough natural pectin to form a gel.’
    • ‘The bobtail sauce was thick and heavy, following hours of reduction of red wine, tomato, crab apple and tarragon.’
  • 2The small tree that bears the crab apple.

    Genus Malus, family Rosaceae: several species and hybrids, in particular the wild Eurasian crab apple (M. sylvestris)

    • ‘We noted that the very old crab apple tree in the hedge had set more fruit than ever before.’
    • ‘It's difficult to choose a single specimen but, more often than not, I suggest a crab apple.’
    • ‘Though upright in shape, this species of crab apple is entirely different.’
    • ‘Unfortunately a field of sunflowers were over, but we had the fruits of autumn, sloe, elderberry and powerfully scented crab apple.’
    • ‘I think the crab apple tree and climbing honeysuckle were placed as diversions at the corner of Mrs. Nesbitt's yard.’
    • ‘The old crab apple tree lost all its leaves and it was barely able to stay up.’
    • ‘The crab apple trees planted in gardens and on verges throughout this fair city are doing their early pink floral thing.’
    • ‘The native species included ash, oak, maple, ash, hawthorn, poplar, crab apple and blackthorn.’
    • ‘It faced a window where a crab apple tree dominated the field.’
    • ‘The Midland Section commemorated the 10th anniversary by planting a snowdrift crab-apple tree.’
    • ‘Primroses are often planted as ground cover under spring-flowering trees, such as dogwood, flowering crab apple, and flowering cherry.’
    • ‘Repellent sprays help, provided the curculios have a flowering crab apple nearby on which to turn their attention.’
    • ‘She had only to stand in the orchard, to put her hand on a little crab tree and look up at the apples, to make you feel the goodness of planting.’
    • ‘The Japanese crab apple, M floribunda, is small and dainty.’
    • ‘The first group consists of those planted in the last 20 to 30 years, species such as rowan, cherry and crab apple.’
    • ‘The heavy spout represents the lumpy branch of a crab apple tree.’
    • ‘Pupils at schools, have signed up to collect seeds such as crab apple and dog rose but more help is needed.’
    • ‘Tree peonies, magnolias, pagoda dogwood and flowering crab trees accompany roses.’
    • ‘I admire the way the crab apple tree made her large blue and white mansion look less pompous.’
    • ‘In addition, they are prone to any number of disfiguring diseases that can transfer to other fruiting trees like rowan and crab apple.’
    • ‘If you need a plant tough enough to survive a windy, exposed site, I'd recommend the crab apple.’


Late Middle English: crab perhaps an alteration (influenced by crab or crabbed) of Scots and northern English scrab, in the same sense, probably of Scandinavian origin.


crab apple