[OE. cráwe f., corresp. to OS. kráia, MLG. kráge, kráe, krá, LG krae, kreie. MDu. kraeye, Du. kraai, OHG. chráwa, chrája, chrá, crawa, cra, MHG. krae, kráwe, krá, Ger. krähe; a WG. deriv. of the vb. cráwan, cráian to Crow, q.v.]
1. A bird of the genus Corvus; in England commonly applied to the Carrion Crow (Corvus Corone), “a large black bird that feeds upon the carcasses of beasts” (Johnson); in the north of England, Scotland, and Ireland to the Rook, C. frugilegus; in U.S. to a closely allied gregarious species. C. americanus.
700 “Epinal. Gloss.” 2 i, Cornacula, crauuae.
2. With qualifications, as Hooded, Kentish, or Royston Crow, Corvus Cornix; Red-legged Crow, C. Graculus; Fish Crow of America, C. ossifragus or C. caurinus; Carrion-crow, etc. Also applied to birds outside the genus or family, as Mire Crow, Sea Crow, names for Larus ridibundus; Scare Crow, the Black Tern (Hydrochelidon nigra); Blue Crow, a crow-like jay of N. America, Gymnocitta cyanocephala; Piping Crows, the birds of the sub-family Gymnorhininae or Streperinae; and others
1875 W. McIlwraith “Guide Wigtownshire”, These cliffs are frequented by the Cornish chough or red-legged crow.
3. In phrases and proverbial sayings as: “A black as a crow”, “The crow thinks its own bird fairest (or white)”, etc. A “white crow”, ie. a rara avis. To “eat crow”: to be forced to do something extremely disagreeable and humiliating.
4. The southern constellation Corvus, the Raven.
5. A bar of iron usually with one end slightly bent and sharpened to a beak, used as a lever or prise: a crow-bar.
1458 Turner “Dom. Archit.” III, Than crafti men for the querry made crowes of yre.
6. A grappling hook, a grapnel. Obs.
1727-51 Chambers “Cycl.”, Crow: in the sea-language, a machine with an iron hook, for fastening hold, and grappling with the enemies vessel.
7. An ancient kind of door-knocker. Obs.
1637 N. Whiting “Albino & Bell”, Who…Knockt at the wicket with the iron crow / To whose small neck white phillets here were tyede / Which in more ancient dayes did child-bed show”
8. Thieves’ slang. One who keeps watch while another steals.
1862 “Cornh. Mag.”, Occasionally they (women) assist at a burglary – remaining outside and keeping watch; they are then called crows.
9. In Alchemy, a color of ore, or of substances in a certain state. Obs.
10. Mining. Used attrib. to denote a poor or impure bed of coal, limestone, etc.
1852 “Jrnal R. Agric. Soc.”, Small beds of the kind called crow coal (only useful for burning lime).
11. Crowing (of a cock)
1386 Chaucer “Miller’s Tale”, I shall at cokkes crow Ful pryvely knokken at his wyndowe.
12. The mesentery of an animal.
1804 Farley “Lond. Art of Cookery”, The harslet, which consists of the liver, crow, kidneys, and skirts.
crow, v. intr.
[OE. cráwan strong vb. (créow, cráwen), which in other WGerm. languages is weak: OS. craian (MDu. kraeijen, Du. kraaijen, MLG. kreien, LG. kraien, kreien), OHG. chráian, cráwan, cráen, (MHG. crájen, cráen, krájen, kráen, mod. G. krähen) Originally an echoic word, and prob. of WG. origin. The strong pa. t. is still prevalent in sense bu1 but in 2, 3, the weak for m is used, the strong pa. pple. is only dialectal]
1. To utter the loud cry of a cock; also rarely of other cries, as that of the raven.
2. Of persons: To utter a loud inarticulate sound of joy of exultation; said esp. of the joyful cry of an infant.
3. fig. To speak in exultation; to exult loudly, boast , swagger. “To crow over”: to triumph over
–per “The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary”, Oxford University Press 1971
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