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[krab-ee] /ˈkræb i/
adjective, crabbier, crabbiest.
Informal. grouchy; ill-natured; irritable; peevish.
Origin of crabby
1540-50; crab3 + -y1
Related forms
crabbily, adverb
crabbiness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for crabby
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You know, you crabby dear, you wouldn't neglect an old dog or an old pony after it had served you.

    A Dream of the North Sea James Runciman
  • There comes a time when a woman has to make up her mind to choose between being called a 'dear old soul' or a 'crabby old thing.'

  • crabby—old crabby Tompkins, a trapper, is buried in the sand on the Frazer.

    The Hunted Woman James Oliver Curwood
  • Accordingly the Hermit exerted himself to please, and it would really have taken more than three crabby boys to resist him.

    A Little Bush Maid Mary Grant Bruce
  • When the latter arrived he seemed in a crabby frame of mind.

  • Persius is crabby, because ancient, and his jerks (being particularly given to private customs of his time) dusky.

  • Time was getting short, and it was no use wasting time on my crabby landlady.

    My Friend Smith Talbot Baines Reed
British Dictionary definitions for crabby


adjective -bier, -biest
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for crabby

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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