crab

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Related to crabbed: melodist

crab mentality

A negative, selfish mentality characterized by a preference for others not to get ahead of or do better than oneself. It alludes to a phenomenon of a group of crabs in a pot, in which an escaping crab is pulled back down by the others so that none escape in the end. She dreamt of going to college and beginning a better life, but her parents' and friends' crab mentality constantly discouraged her from leaving the sordid life in which they were entrenched.
See also: crab, mentality

crab

n. a louse. (Usually plural.) He’s scratching like he’s got crabs.

catch a crab

To make a faulty stroke in rowing that causes the blade of the oar to strike the water on the recovery stroke.
See also: catch, crab
References in classic literature ?
With that crabbed answer he closed the conversation for the day.
It had never occurred to him that a captain's wife could be anything but a woman to be described as stout or thin, as jolly or crabbed, but always mature, and even, in comparison with his own years, frankly old.
The child (a little boy, apparently about five years old) scrambled up to the top of the wall, and called again and again; but finding this of no avail, apparently made up his mind, like Mahomet, to go to the mountain, since the mountain would not come to him, and attempted to get over; but a crabbed old cherry-tree, that grew hard by, caught him by the frock in one of its crooked scraggy arms that stretched over the wall.
For long years I have been a cross, crabbed, unlovable, unloved old man--though I'm not nearly sixty, yet, Pollyanna.
The turkey carpet has rolled itself up, and retired sulkily under the sideboard: the pictures have hidden their faces behind old sheets of brown paper: the ceiling lamp is muffled up in a dismal sack of brown holland: the window-curtains have disappeared under all sorts of shabby envelopes: the marble bust of Sir Walpole Crawley is looking from its black corner at the bare boards and the oiled fire-irons, and the empty card-racks over the mantelpiece: the cellaret has lurked away behind the carpet: the chairs are turned up heads and tails along the walls: and in the dark corner opposite the statue, is an old-fashioned crabbed knife-box, locked and sitting on a dumb waiter.
Everybody thinks me crabbed and odd (with perfect justice); and everybody thinks her sweet-tempered and charming (with more justice still).