One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small marine isopod that bores into submerged wooden structures, often causing damage to pier timbers.
Limnoria lignorum, order Isopoda
- ‘Wood-boring marine crustaceans, called gribbles, have devoured portions of supporting timbers designed to stabilize a seawall built along the waterfront in Seattle, Washington.’
- ‘The seagrass gribble burrows through blades of seagrasses, eating their soft internal tissues.’
- ‘Because gribbles usually attack wood ‘en mass’, the wood surface quickly becomes sharp and uneven because of all the holes and cavities.’
Late 18th century: perhaps related to the verb grub.
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