The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Crab \Crab\ (kr[a^]b), n. [AS. crabba; akin to D. krab, G.
krabbe, krebs, Icel. krabbi, Sw. krabba, Dan. krabbe, and
perh. to E. cramp. Cf. Crawfish.]
1. (Zool.) One of the brachyuran Crustacea. They are mostly
marine, and usually have a broad, short body, covered with
a strong shell or carapace. The abdomen is small and
curled up beneath the body.
Note: The name is applied to all the Brachyura, and to
certain Anomura, as the hermit crabs. Formerly, it was
sometimes applied to Crustacea in general. Many species
are edible, the blue crab of the Atlantic coast being
one of the most esteemed. The large European edible
crab is Cancer padurus. Soft-shelled crabs are blue
crabs that have recently cast their shells. See
Cancer; also, Box crab, Fiddler crab, Hermit
crab, Spider crab, etc., under Box, Fiddler.
2. The zodiacal constellation Cancer.
3. [See Crab, a.] (Bot.) A crab apple; -- so named from its
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl. --Shak.
4. A cudgel made of the wood of the crab tree; a crabstick.
(a) A movable winch or windlass with powerful gearing,
used with derricks, etc.
(b) A form of windlass, or geared capstan, for hauling
ships into dock, etc.
(c) A machine used in ropewalks to stretch the yarn.
(d) A claw for anchoring a portable machine.
Calling crab. (Zool.) See Fiddler., n., 2.
Crab apple, a small, sour apple, of several kinds; also,
the tree which bears it; as, the European crab apple
(Pyrus Malus var. sylvestris); the Siberian crab apple
(Pyrus baccata); and the American (Pyrus coronaria).
Crab grass. (Bot.)
(a) A grass (Digitaria sanguinalis syn. Panicum
sanguinalis); -- called also finger grass.
(b) A grass of the genus Eleusine (Eleusine Indica);
-- called also dog's-tail grass, wire grass, etc.
Crab louse (Zool.), a species of louse (Phthirius pubis),
sometimes infesting the human body.
Crab plover (Zool.), an Asiatic plover (Dromas ardeola).
Crab's eyes, or Crab's stones, masses of calcareous
matter found, at certain seasons of the year, on either
side of the stomach of the European crawfishes, and
formerly used in medicine for absorbent and antacid
purposes; the gastroliths.
Crab spider (Zool.), one of a group of spiders
(Laterigrad[ae]); -- called because they can run
backwards or sideways like a crab.
Crab tree, the tree that bears crab applies.
Crab wood, a light cabinet wood obtained in Guiana, which
takes a high polish. --McElrath.
To catch a crab (Naut.), a phrase used of a rower:
(a) when he fails to raise his oar clear of the water;
(b) when he misses the water altogether in making a