Word of the Day : September 23, 2020
crabwise \KRAB-wyze\ adverb
1 : sideways
2 : in a sidling or cautiously indirect manner
Did You Know?
There's no reason to be indirect when explaining the etymology of crabwise—we'll get right to the point. As you might guess, the meaning of the word is directly related to that sidling sea creature, the crab. If you have visited a beach near the sea, you have probably seen crabs scuttling along, often moving sideways. Though the behavior is surely above reproach to the crabs themselves, English speakers tend to be suspicious of what comes at them from the side, and the modern meanings of crabwise reflect this suspicion of the crab's lateral approach. The word crept into English in the early 19th century and has been sidling into our sentences ever since.
Aired September 23, 2020
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