Definition of crabbed in English:


Syllabification: crab·bed
Pronunciation: /ˈkrabd


  • 1(Of handwriting) ill-formed and hard to decipher.
    More example sentences
    • The crabbed handwriting was identical to the one on the note.
    • The painfully familiar Cyrillic letters were crabbed and uneven - as if battered by gales.
    • Thirty-four years after I made this crabbed notation - ‘Mr. Chapman and guest.’
    cramped, ill-formed, bad, illegible, unreadable, indecipherable, hieroglyphic; shaky, spidery
  • 1.1(Of style) contorted and difficult to understand: crabbed legal language
    More example sentences
    • His efforts to explore the ethical basis of legal rules goes along with a more crabbed style than is usual with Roman lawyers.
    • The latter has the literary style of a crabbed academic philosophy professor.
    • Well, we had a great time watching this show, and it made Martha's show seemed crabbed and small by comparison.
  • 2Ill-humored: a crabbed, unhappy middle age
    More example sentences
    • Why should the capital lose out because the rest of Britain is so crabbed and provincial in its attitude towards newcomers?
    • But if the only way to do it is via a cranky and crabbed dismissal of science, count me out.
    • It's a crabbed, narrow, unforgiving quality that was alive and well particularly for a couple of decades after the war.



More example sentences
  • We thought that would be a better way to ring in the season than, say, crabbedly poking at a deck, angry and alone.
  • He was a crabbedly honest old fellow, and a very skilful hunter.
  • That is why the young are fiery and righteous, and the old crabbedly mutter that there is no new thing under the sun.


More example sentences
  • They differ from earlier work, in a slight crabbedness of hand, a somewhat less generous use of space.
  • Both father and son, in their crabbedness, may be recessionary personalities.
  • The story of a change in a character from arrogance, crabbedness, to that of humility always has appeal.


Middle English (in the sense 'perverse, wayward'): from crab1, because of the crab's sideways gait and habit of snapping, thought to suggest a perverse or irritable disposition.

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Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody