crab
Pronunciation Noun

crab

  1. A crustacean of the infraorder Brachyura, having five pairs of legs, the foremost of which are in the form of claws, and a carapace.
  2. (uncountable) The meat of this crustacean, served as food; crabmeat
  3. A bad-tempered person.
  4. (in plural crabs, informal) An infestation of pubic lice (Pthirus pubis).
    Although crabs themselves are an easily treated inconvenience, the patient and his partner(s) clearly run major STD risks.
  5. (slang) A playing card with the rank of three.
  6. (rowing) A position in rowing where the oar is pushed under the rigger by the force of the water.
  7. A defect in an outwardly normal object that may render it inconvenient and troublesome to use.
    • 1915, W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage, chapter 116
      -- "I suppose you wouldn't like to do a locum for a month on the South coast? Three guineas a week with board and lodging." -- "I wouldn't mind," said Philip. -- "It's at Farnley, in Dorsetshire. Doctor South. You'd have to go down at once; his assistant has developed mumps. I believe it's a very pleasant place." There was something in the secretary's manner that puzzled Philip. It was a little doubtful. -- "What's the crab in it?" he asked.
    • 1940, Horace Annesley Vachell, Little Tyrannies ↗
      Arrested by the low price of another “desirable residence”, I asked “What's the crab?” The agent assured me that there was no crab. I fell in love with this house at sight. Happily, I discovered that it was reputed to be haunted.
  8. (dated) An unsold book that is returned to the publisher.
    • 1844, Albert Henry Payne, Payne's universum, or pictorial world (page 99)
      […] the unsold copies may be returned to the original publisher , at a period fixed upon between Christmas and Easter; these returned copies are technically called krebse or crabs, probably, from their walking backwards. […] A says to B, "I have had eight thousand dollars' worth of your publications, three thousand were crabs, that makes five thousand."
    • 1892, The Publishers Weekly (volume 41, page 709)
      […] unsold copies and settling the yearly accounts; while for the publisher begins the much dreaded season of "crabs," as […]
Translations Translations Verb

crab (crabs, present participle crabbing; past and past participle crabbed)

  1. (intransitive) To fish for crabs.
  2. (transitive, US, slang) To ruin.
    • 1940, Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely, Penguin 2010, p. 224:
      ‘Just so we understand each other,’ he said after a pause. ‘If you crab this case, you'll be in a jam.’
  3. (intransitive) To complain.
  4. (intransitive) To drift or move sideways or to leeward (by analogy with the movement of a crab).
  5. (transitive) To navigate (an aircraft, e.g. a glider) sideways against an air current in order to maintain a straight-line course.
  6. (transitive, film, television) To move (a camera) sideways.
    • 1997, Paul Kriwaczek, Documentary for the Small Screen (page 109)
      If panning is not easy to make seem natural, crabbing the camera is even less like any action we perform with our eyes in the real world. There are a few circumstances in which we walk sideways: […]
  7. (obsolete, World War I), to fly slightly off the straight-line course towards an enemy aircraft, as the machine guns on early aircraft did not allow firing through the propeller disk.
  8. (rare) To back out of something.
    • 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, chapter XV, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, OCLC 1227855 ↗:
      “Nothing can possibly go wrong.” “Just as you say, sir. But I still have that feeling.” The blood of the Woosters is hot, and I was about to tell him in set terms what I thought of his bally feeling, when I suddenly spotted what it was that was making him crab the act.
Noun

crab (plural crabs)

  1. The crab apple or wild apple.
    • 1610, William Shakespeare, The Tempest, act 2 scene 2
      I prithee, let me bring thee where crabs grow;
      And I with my long nails will dig thee pig-nuts;
  2. The tree bearing crab apples, which has a dogbane-like bitter bark with medical use.
  3. A cudgel made of the wood of the crab tree; a crabstick.
  4. A movable winch or windlass with powerful gearing, used with derricks, etc.
  5. A form of windlass, or geared capstan, for hauling ships into dock, etc.
  6. A machine used in ropewalks to stretch the yarn.
  7. A claw for anchoring a portable machine.
Synonyms Verb

crab (crabs, present participle crabbing; past and past participle crabbed)

  1. (obsolete) To irritate, make surly or sour
  2. To be ill-tempered; to complain or find fault.
    • Sickness sours or crabs our nature.
  3. (British dialect) To cudgel or beat, as with a crabstick
Noun

crab (plural crabs)

  1. The tree species Carapa guianensis, native to South America.
Noun

crab (plural crabs)

  1. (informal) Short for carabiner#English|carabiner.



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