purse crab


Definition of purse crab

1 : a large burrowing land crab (Birgus latro) that is widely distributed about islands of the tropical Indian and Pacific oceans, has a varied omnivorous diet that includes coconuts, and is related to the hermit crabs but distinguished by its large size and its broad symmetrical abdomen the oily flesh of which is esteemed as a local delicacy

called also coconut crab, palm crab, robber crab, tree crab

2 : any of a family (Leucosiidae) of crabs characterized by a granular carapace and long claws and by an adult female having the abdomen formed into a hemispherical cup that snaps shut against the sternum to form a brood chamber for the eggs especially : one (Persephona mediterranea) that occurs in shallow water along the Atlantic coast of Mexico and of the U.S. as far north as New Jersey

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Learn More About purse crab

Dictionary Entries Near purse crab

purse bearer

purse crab

purse cutter

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for purse crab

Cite this Entry

“Purse crab.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purse%20crab. Accessed 29 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!