crab·​by ˈkra-bē How to pronounce crabby (audio)
crabbier; crabbiest
: easily irritated : peevish and irritable : grouchy
a crabby recluse
He gets crabby if he doesn't have his morning coffee.
She was in a crabby mood and got a certain amount of satisfaction out of pushing her sister's buttons.Isis Crawford
crabbiness noun
… the waiters have shed Stalinist crabbiness in favor of Parisian-style contempt for the customer. Kati Marton

Examples of crabby in a Sentence

She gets crabby if she doesn't get enough sleep. a crabby old dog who snapped at passersby
Recent Examples on the Web Keep your crabby comments and compulsive shopping on the down-low — at least for those 10 days. Elizabeth Gulino,, 20 Oct. 2023 It’s located in the crabby constellation Cancer, and Mars will appear as a brilliant red ruby surrounded by sparkly diamonds. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 31 May 2023 Those crabby pubic lice, P. pubis, look nothing like human head or clothing lice — physically or genetically. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019 Bubbe is just a crabby old lady. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 9 Sep. 2022 There are days when commuters are crabby. Star Tribune, 12 June 2021 Give yourself permission to be crabby. Leslie Barker, Dallas News, 1 Jan. 2021 While plastic pollution has longed plagued marine life, there's one species that isn't feeling so crabby upon seeing it. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 10 Aug. 2021 There’s little new about the setup of the crabby older person forced together with a resistant youngster only to surmount their mutual disdain and form a life-changing bond. Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, 23 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'crabby.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


crab entry 4

First Known Use

1599, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of crabby was in 1599

Dictionary Entries Near crabby

Cite this Entry

“Crabby.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


crab·​by ˈkrab-ē How to pronounce crabby (audio)
crabbier; crabbiest

More from Merriam-Webster on crabby

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