One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A small sour apple.
- ‘He pulled out his slingshot and loaded it with a crab apple, and took aim at Parsons' broad back.’
- ‘If you buy a crab apple today, it won't go sour on you.’
- ‘I hate this ugly tree and the crab apple mess its leaves.’
- ‘If they are very lucky there may be some fruit, wild plums or a crab apple.’
- ‘In the middle of a raging snowstorm I saw two robins greedily downing shriveled, frozen crab apples.’
- ‘Apples, crab apples, gooseberries, and some plums and grapes usually contain enough natural pectin to form a gel.’
- ‘I was busy picking the sour, early apples and crab apples off the ground.’
- ‘The bobtail sauce was thick and heavy, following hours of reduction of red wine, tomato, crab apple and tarragon.’
- ‘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.’
2The small tree that bears the crab apple.
Genus Malus, family Rosaceae: several species and hybrids, in particular the wildEurasian crab apple (M. sylvestris), which is one of the possible ancestors of cultivated apples
- ‘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.’
- ‘We noted that the very old crab apple tree in the hedge had set more fruit than ever before.’
- ‘Unfortunately a field of sunflowers were over, but we had the fruits of autumn, sloe, elderberry and powerfully scented crab apple.’
- ‘Pupils at schools, have signed up to collect seeds such as crab apple and dog rose but more help is needed.’
- ‘The old crab apple tree lost all its leaves and it was barely able to stay up.’
- ‘The first group consists of those planted in the last 20 to 30 years, species such as rowan, cherry and crab apple.’
- ‘Though upright in shape, this species of crab apple is entirely different.’
- ‘Primroses are often planted as ground cover under spring-flowering trees, such as dogwood, flowering crab apple, and flowering cherry.’
- ‘The crab apple trees planted in gardens and on verges throughout this fair city are doing their early pink floral thing.’
- ‘I admire the way the crab apple tree made her large blue and white mansion look less pompous.’
- ‘Tree peonies, magnolias, pagoda dogwood and flowering crab trees accompany roses.’
- ‘Repellent sprays help, provided the curculios have a flowering crab apple nearby on which to turn their attention.’
- ‘The native species included ash, oak, maple, ash, hawthorn, poplar, crab apple and blackthorn.’
- ‘In addition, they are prone to any number of disfiguring diseases that can transfer to other fruiting trees like rowan and crab apple.’
- ‘It faced a window where a crab apple tree dominated the field.’
- ‘If you need a plant tough enough to survive a windy, exposed site, I'd recommend the crab apple.’
- ‘I think the crab apple tree and climbing honeysuckle were placed as diversions at the corner of Mrs. Nesbitt's yard.’
- ‘The Japanese crab apple, M floribunda, is small and dainty.’
- ‘It's difficult to choose a single specimen but, more often than not, I suggest a crab apple.’
- ‘The Midland Section commemorated the 10th anniversary by planting a snowdrift crab-apple tree.’
- ‘The heavy spout represents the lumpy branch of a crab apple tree.’
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.
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