Catch a crab


      • Make a mistake or error
        To describe when someone messes up or makes a mistake in a task or action, often in a clumsy or awkward manner

      • Experience an unexpected difficulty or setback
        Similar to the first meaning, but with an emphasis on the unexpected nature of the mistake or error. Can also be used when describing a situation that is causing difficulties or setbacks.

      • Fail or lose control
        To describe a situation where someone fails or loses control, often in a sudden or unexpected way. Can also be used to describe a sports team or individual that is performing poorly or losing a game.

      • Get caught in a difficult or unpleasant situation
        To describe being stuck in a difficult or unpleasant situation, often due to one's own actions or decisions. Can also be used to describe being caught in a trap or snare.

    Examples of Catch a crab


      The idiom "catch a crab" can be used in a variety of situations, but all meanings ultimately refer to making a mistake or experiencing a difficulty. This phrase is commonly used in sports, particularly rowing, to describe a mistake or error made by a rower that causes the boat to slow down or lose its rhythm. However, it can also be used in everyday conversation to describe any type of mistake or failure.

      The phrase "catch a crab" often has a negative connotation, as it implies a lack of control or skill. It can also be used to describe a situation that is causing frustration or difficulty, as the mistake or error may have consequences beyond just the immediate action. In some cases, it can also be used humorously to describe a silly or clumsy mistake.

      Origin of "Catch a crab"

      The origin of the idiom "catch a crab" is not entirely clear, but it is believed to have originated in the sport of rowing. In this context, a "crab" refers to a mistake made by a rower where their oar gets stuck in the water, causing the boat to slow down or stop. This can happen due to a variety of factors, such as poor technique or a sudden wind gust.

      Some sources also suggest that the phrase may have originated from the practice of catching actual crabs while crabbing. If one was not careful, the crab could grab onto the line and pull the person into the water, causing them to lose control. This could be seen as a metaphor for losing control in any situation.

      Regardless of its exact origins, the idiom "catch a crab" has become a popular and versatile phrase in English, used to describe a range of mistakes, errors, and difficulties. Its origins in the world of rowing and crabbing only add to its colorful and unique nature.