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1(of handwriting) ill-formed and hard to decipher.
cramped, bad, shaky, scribbled, spidery, laboured, illegible, unreadable, indecipherableView synonyms
- ‘You're left with a notebook page of highbrows, scribbled in a crabbed hand.’
- ‘On the wall hung a framed letter in faded brown ink, written in a crabbed and spidery fist.’
- ‘Wendy noted the crabbed scrawl of her uncle's signature immediately above the notarization seal, then read the introduction.’
- ‘Klessa's handwriting, in particular, is too damnably crabbed.’
- ‘The crabbed handwriting was identical to the one on the note.’
- ‘Thirty-four years after I made this crabbed notation - ‘Mr. Chapman and guest.’’
- ‘A furry arm snaked out, hung a sign in a crabbed script, then whisked out of sight again.’
- ‘Inside, a crabbed script covered page after page, interspaced by occasional line drawings.’
- ‘For those not fluent in Italian, I will paraphrase the definition before me in Il Duce's crabbed hand.’
- ‘It wasn't as though they were written down on teeny little Post-Its in crabbed penmanship and stuck onto the shelves backwards.’
- ‘It was written with a pen in a crabbed hand, and the sum and substance of it was this.’
- ‘They are recording with their crabbed hands what they are saying, a full transcript of what may be occurring.’
- ‘The painfully familiar Cyrillic letters were crabbed and uneven - as if battered by gales.’
- ‘Atop the videocassette was a note penned in blue ink in my brother's surprisingly crabbed handwriting.’
- ‘Plotinus wrote these treatises in a crabbed and difficult Greek.’
- ‘I have again spent too long reading Klessa's crabbed writing.’
- 1.1 (of style) contorted and difficult to understand.‘crabbed legal language’
- ‘Warner's highly complex line of argument, winding around so much material, and so tightly, produces a compacted, even crabbed architecture.’
- ‘It is far too late in the day to impose a crabbed reading of the [establishment] clause on the country.’
- ‘One minute crabbed, spindly lines pick through the chords awkwardly, then suddenly there's a passage of effortless, fluid virtuosity.’
- ‘His efforts to explore the ethical basis of legal rules goes along with a more crabbed style than is usual with Roman lawyers.’
- ‘The latter has the literary style of a crabbed academic philosophy professor.’
- ‘Significantly, however, we need not view the verdicts in that deferential, crabbed way.’
- ‘She felt the attraction of libertine narrative in a less crabbed way than some of her better-known works might lead us to believe.’
- ‘Well, we had a great time watching this show, and it made Martha's show seemed crabbed and small by comparison.’
- ‘But this crabbed, Hobbesian spirit of social Darwinism has been bested before, and we can overcome it again.’
2Ill-humored.‘a crabbed, unhappy middle age’
bad-tempered, ill-tempered, short-tempered, crotchety, crabby, tetchy, testy, waspish, prickly, peppery, touchy, irritable, irascible, crusty, cantankerous, curmudgeonly, bearish, surly, churlish, ill-natured, ill-humoured, peevish, cross, as cross as two sticks, fractious, disagreeable, pettishView synonyms
- ‘I felt crabbed and stinging-eyed and almost tore her head off.’
- ‘It's a crabbed, narrow, unforgiving quality that was alive and well particularly for a couple of decades after the war.’
- ‘These are, of course, the sour thoughts of a crabbed and incorrigible old cynic.’
- ‘But if the only way to do it is via a cranky and crabbed dismissal of science, count me out.’
- ‘Why should the capital lose out because the rest of Britain is so crabbed and provincial in its attitude towards newcomers?’
- ‘Earlier, he attacked ‘all the crabbed, sour, anti-Europeans’ for ‘banging on about Europe becoming some kind of superstate’.’
- ‘Epstein's crabbed view of autonomy also highlights the bankruptcy of the libertarian view of child-rearing.’
- ‘This common mantra of crabbed Republicanism became mine also.’
- ‘Now we are like the crabbed geezers we used to sing about.’
- ‘His charming comedy about crabbed age and youth will be back in time for the holiday season.’
- ‘Noah has taken all the family's worries on himself, and he's in danger of turning into a crabbed old man.’
Middle English (in the sense perverse, wayward): from crab, because of the crab's sideways gait and habit of snapping, thought to suggest a perverse or irritable disposition.
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