A lot vs. Alot: 9 Grammatical Pitfalls
1620s, generally dismissed by British etymologists as a 19c. American English variant of crayfish, but perhaps it existed in Middle English. Also in 19c. American English as a verb, "to back out," in reference to the creature's movements.
To renege; retreat; back out: He started to crawfish when he realized who the competition was (1842+)