Etymology
Advertisement

Words related to Crab

carve (v.)

Middle English kerven (the initial -k- is from influence of Scandinavian forms), from Old English ceorfan (class III strong verb; past tense cearf, past participle corfen) "to cut," also "cut down, slay; cut out," from West Germanic *kerbanan (source also of Old Frisian kerva, Middle Dutch and Dutch kerven, German kerben "to cut, notch"), from PIE root *gerbh- "to scratch," making carve the English cognate of Greek graphein "to write," originally "to scratch" on clay tablets with a stylus.

Once extensively used and the general verb for "to cut;" most senses now have passed to cut (v.) and since 16c.

carve has been restricted to specialized senses such as "cut (solid material) into the representation of an object or a design" (late Old English); "cut (meat, etc.) into pieces or slices" (early 13c.); "produce by cutting" (mid-13c.); "decorate by carving" (late 14c.). Related: Carved; carving. The original strong conjugation has been abandoned, but archaic past-participle adjective carven lingers poetically.

Advertisement
crabbed (adj.)

late 14c., "peevish, angry, ill-tempered, spiteful," also "vicious, wicked, perverse," from crab (n.1), from the crab's combative disposition; mid-15c. as "moving backwards" and in reference to crookedness. Of taste "bitter, harsh," late 14c., from crab (n.2). Related: Crabbedly; crabbedness.

crabby (adj.)
1520s, in now-obsolete sense "crooked, gnarled, rough," from extended sense of crab (n.1) + -y (2). Meaning "disagreeable, sour, peevish" is attested from 1776, American English. Both senses were found earlier in crabbed.
crabgrass (n.)

also crab-grass, 1590s, from crab (n.1) + grass. Originally a marine grass of salt marshes (Salicornia herbacea) perhaps so called because it was supposed to be eaten by crabs; modern use, in reference to Panicum sanguinale, an annual grass cultivated on waste land (but a noxious weed in lawns and cultivated fields), is from 1743, perhaps partly in reference to its crooked form.

crawl (v.)

c. 1200, creulen, "to move slowly by drawing the body across the ground," from a Scandinavian source, perhaps Old Norse krafla "to claw (one's way)," or Danish kravle, from the same root as crab (n.1). If there was an Old English *craflian, it has not been recorded.

Meaning "advance slowly" is from mid-15c. Sense of "have a sensation as of something crawling on the flesh" is from c. 1300. Related: Crawled; crawler; crawling.

crayfish (n.)

"small, freshwater lobster," early 14c., crevis, from Old French crevice "crayfish" (13c., Modern French écrevisse), probably from Frankish *krebitja or a similar Germanic word that is a diminutive form of the root of crab (n.1); compare Old High German krebiz "crab, shellfish," German Krebs. Modern spelling is a 16c. folk-etymology, under influence of fish (n.).

shrewd (adj.)
c. 1300, "wicked, evil," from shrewe "wicked man" (see shrew). Compare crabbed from crab (n.), dogged from dog (n.), wicked from witch (n.). The sense of "cunning" is first recorded 1510s. Related: Shrewdly; shrewdness. Strutt's "Sports and Pastimes of the People of England" (1801) has a shrewdness of apes for a company or group of them. Shrewdie "cunning person" is from 1916.
craps (n.)

game of chance played with dice, 1843, American English, unrelated to the term for excrement, instead it is from Louisiana French craps "the game of hazard," from an 18c. continental French corruption of English crabs, which was 18c. slang for "a throw of two or three" (the lowest throw), which perhaps is from crab (n.2), the sense in crab apple. The 1843 citation (in an anti-gambling publication, "An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling") calls it "a game lately introduced into New Orleans." To shoot craps is by 1885.