hermit crab

noun

Definition of hermit crab

: any of numerous chiefly marine small decapod crustaceans (especially families Diogenidae, Paguridae, and Parapaguridae) having soft asymmetrical abdomens and occupying the empty shells of gastropods

Illustration of hermit crab

Illustration of hermit crab

Examples of hermit crab in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Take the king crab’s ancestor, for instance—the hermit crab. Sara Kiley Watson, Popular Science, "Why everything eventually becomes a crab," 14 Dec. 2020 She’s like a creature of the earth, a veritable human hermit crab. Justin Chang Film Critic, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Kate Winslet gives her best performance in years in the striking, passionate ‘Ammonite’," 12 Nov. 2020 In the mix there was a giant hermit crab, a polar bear taking a selfie next to a narwhal, a mushroom cap, Mr. Potato Head, Snoopy and an octopus emerging from the pages of an open book and gripping its tentacles around a submarine. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Snow sculptures transform Ship Creek into a winter wonderland," 2 Mar. 2020 That may make hermit crabs one of the first animals known to experience wealth inequality. Elizabeth Preston, New York Times, "Even Hermit Crabs Have Wealth Inequality," 13 Dec. 2019 In one famous photograph a mannequin’s hand protrudes from the shell of a hermit crab, which sits on a beach below a stormy sky (Untitled, Hand-Shell, 1934. Pictured, top). The Economist, "Dora Maar, an overlooked star of surrealism," 3 Dec. 2019 Crabs—coconut crabs plus the smaller, more numerous strawberry hermit crabs—swarmed the body, removing most of the flesh within two weeks. Rachel Hartigan Shea, National Geographic, "Colossal crabs may hold clue to Amelia Earhart fate," 20 Aug. 2019 Marine invertebrates—from octopuses to hermit crabs and creatures like the bizarre holothurians—are the focus of this photography book. Tim Flannery, The New York Review of Books, "Tim Flannery," 7 Mar. 2019 Susan Middleton’s Spineless reveals a world where hermit crabs resemble wizards carrying their own magic mountains on their backs, and where worms are transformed into exquisite, pearly necklaces. Tim Flannery, The New York Review of Books, "Tim Flannery," 7 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hermit crab.' 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 hermit crab

1735, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of hermit crab was in 1735

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Cite this Entry

“Hermit crab.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hermit%20crab. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for hermit crab

hermit crab

noun

English Language Learners Definition of hermit crab

: a type of crab that lives in the empty shell of another animal (such as a snail)

hermit crab

noun

Kids Definition of hermit crab

: a small crab that lives in the empty shells of mollusks (as snails)

More from Merriam-Webster on hermit crab

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hermit crab

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