Bill from East Bay
called to ask where the crab apple got its name. He couldn’t imagine a
relationship between a crustacean and a fruit.
As it turns out, there
are four separate nouns with the spelling c-r-a-b. Crab1 is the name
of the crustacean. It comes from an Old Norse word that meant to scratch or
claw. Because of physical resemblance, it is also the name of a sign of the
Zodiac and a three-legged frame with tackle for raising heavy weights.
from a Norse word that meant the fruit of the wild apple tree. There is the
implication of smallness, compression, and poor condition. As applied to a
person, it means a person with a sour disposition.
Crab3 is a
corruption of carap, the name
of a South American tree. It produces a nut or seed that is the source of oil
used to produce light and also to fight intestinal worms. Versatile would seem
to be an appropriate word.
related to crab1, with the original meaning to claw or scratch. It
means adverse criticism or objection.
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