Definition of crabbed in English:

crabbed

adjective

  • 1(of handwriting) ill-formed and hard to decipher.

    • ‘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.’
    cramped, bad, shaky, scribbled, spidery, laboured, illegible, unreadable, indecipherable
    View synonyms
    1. 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’
    • ‘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.’
    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, pettish
    View synonyms

Origin

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.

Pronunciation:

crabbed

/krabd/