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catch a crab

To make a poor stroke while rowing, perhaps by missing the water entirely. The boat jerked as I caught a crab with my oar.
See also: catch, crab

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

draw the crabs

"Crabs" refers to "crab shells," perhaps a pun on the shells of bullets and artillery. Primarily heard in Australia.
1. military slang To cause an enemy to fire at one; to draw fire. Stay low so they can't see you. You don't want to draw the crabs and get yourself killed!
2. informal By extension, to attract unwanted attention. The celebrity wore a floppy hat and big sunglasses at the local coffee shop in an attempt to avoid drawing the crabs. It didn’t work, though—a crowd flocked to her almost immediately.
See also: crab, draw

old crab

An eccentric or irritable older person, especially one whose views or attitudes are considered boring or old-fashioned. Ah, don't mind that old crab. He's just set in her ways. I've fully embraced that I'm going to be a grumpy old crab by the time I'm in my 60s.
See also: crab, old

you cannot make a crab walk straight

proverb There is no point trying to accomplish something that is not actually possible. (Crabs are known for walking sideways.) Why are you try to teach her this game when she clearly isn't interested? You cannot make a crab walk straight, you know. A: "Billy's trying to mix oil and water again." B: "Oh boy. Someone needs to tell him that you can't make a crab walk straight."
See also: cannot, crab, make, straight, walk
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

catch a crab

(in rowing) effect a faulty stroke in which the oar is jammed under water or misses the water altogether.
See also: catch, crab
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017


n. a louse. (Usually plural.) He’s scratching like he’s got crabs.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

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
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
A documentary about how people help land crabs migrate from inland areas to the shore to spawn in southern Taiwan has won two awards at the Best Shorts Competition in the United States, the Directorate General of Highways (DGH) said Monday.
Carefully lift the crab out of the pan, place on a tray and leave until cool enough to handle.
Predation by Ptychophallus uncinatus At 22:10 h on 14 March 2013 turning over rocks in the stream at Quebrada Campamento resulted in the discovery of an adult freshwater crab (P.
Ministry of Crab, Mumbai is a relaxed luxury dining restaurant designed to hold the essence of its flagship restaurant in Colombo from the crab board to tableware, also exhibiting a modernized rustic charm.
We prudently decided to go small, and ordered the smallest and second-smallest crab sizes available.
SIZE does matter, at least when it comes to some hermit crabs, who appear to have evolved longer penises so they can stay in their shells to protect their homes during sex.
In Manila, Ministry of Crab opened its third branch recently in Shangri-La at the Fort, in a tall and equally ministerial space that was initially supposed to be the hotel's club.
Our study concerns the behavior of the long-wristed hermit crab, Pagurus longicarpus Say, 1817, which can be found along the Atlantic Coast of Canada and the United States from Nova Scotia to Florida, as well as along the Gulf Coast of the United States (Young, 1978).
The company, near Arlington Municipal Airport and 16 miles from the nearest saltwater port, is the largest builder of commercial crab and fish pots in the U.S.
I got the Maggi Ketam Power with added udang galah (giant freshwater prawns) and it came in a huge bowl with the crab and prawns proudly displayed on top.
The project promotes mud crab hatchery and nursery technologies in Aklan State University (ASU), Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZSCMST), and the Tagum local government unit (LGU) in Davao del Norte.
He also said that Fisheries Department, Cox's bazar, formally began construction of crab hatchery at Cox's bazar for the first in the country yesterday at a cost of TK over three crore.
The crab, whose scientific name is Carcinus maenas, is an invasive species that for decades has been moving into new coastal environments around the world and quickly dominating them.
Start by finding plenty of crab trap floats in a bay, in deep sloughs adjacent to large oyster flats, or along the edge of a grassflat.
The most heavily infested crab was a berried female having 94 mm short carapace width.