crab·​bed | \ ˈkra-bəd How to pronounce crabbed (audio) \

Definition of crabbed

1 : marked by a forbidding moroseness a crabbed view of human nature
2 : difficult to read or understand crabbed handwriting

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Other Words from crabbed

crabbedness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for crabbed

sullen, glum, morose, surly, sulky, crabbed, saturnine, gloomy mean showing a forbidding or disagreeable mood. sullen implies a silent ill humor and a refusal to be sociable. remained sullen amid the festivities glum suggests a silent dispiritedness. a glum candidate left to ponder a stunning defeat morose adds to glum an element of bitterness or misanthropy. morose job seekers who are inured to rejection surly implies gruffness and sullenness of speech or manner. a typical surly teenager sulky suggests childish resentment expressed in peevish sullenness. grew sulky after every spat crabbed applies to a forbidding morose harshness of manner. the school's notoriously crabbed headmaster saturnine describes a heavy forbidding aspect or suggests a bitter disposition. a saturnine cynic always finding fault gloomy implies a depression in mood making for seeming sullenness or glumness. a gloomy mood ushered in by bad news

Examples of crabbed in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Guston’s searingly funny caricatures of Richard M. Nixon and his corrupt White House cronies, drawn mostly in short, crabbed lines, have been exhibited only twice before — once in Manhattan (2016) and once in London (2017). Los Angeles Times, "Review: As impeachment flashbacks go, few better than Philip Guston’s ‘Tricky Dick’ drawings," 9 Oct. 2019 No one can accuse this Court of having a crabbed view of the reach of its competence. WSJ, "Notable & Quotable: Chief Justice Roberts in Rucho v. Common Cause," 27 June 2019 The core error here is the Texas Supreme Court’s crabbed understanding of Obergefell. Dale Carpenter, Washington Post, "How wrong was the Texas Supreme Court about equality for married gay couples?," 2 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crabbed.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of crabbed

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for crabbed

Middle English, partly from crabbe crustacean, partly from crabbe crab apple

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Time Traveler for crabbed

Time Traveler

The first known use of crabbed was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Crabbed.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for crabbed


How to pronounce crabbed (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of crabbed

: difficult to read or understand
: very negative : full of unhappy ideas


crab·​bed | \ ˈkra-bəd How to pronounce crabbed (audio) \

Kids Definition of crabbed

More from Merriam-Webster on crabbed

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crabbed

Britannica English: Translation of crabbed for Arabic Speakers

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