crib (animals)


According to the Oxford dictionary, both the crib and the manger are "long open boxes that hourses and cows can eat from". Do you agree in that definition? Is there any difference? Is one word BE and the other AE?
Thank you very much for your help.
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Fascinating question, reka!

    For me, a manger is definitely an animal-food receptacle - though I can't dissociate it from the King James Bible's "Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."

    The primary current meaning of crib, to me, is "high-sided baby's bed" - what we would normally in BrE call a "cot". But I see that the first meaning given by the the OED is (my underlining)
    a. A barred receptacle for fodder used in cowsheds and fold-yards; also in fields, for beasts lying out during the winter; a CRATCH. (In nearly all early quots. applied to the manger in which the infant Christ was laid; cf. CRATCH n.)
    And certainly we still use "crib" for the Nativity scenes found in churches at Christmas.

    As regards what the present-day word is for "animal-food-receptacle", I really don't know: perhaps trough?

    You need a farmer!:)
    Interestingly, Loob, the "crib" in a American Nativity scene is almost always called the "manger," to the point that such displays are sometimes called "manger scenes." I don't recall hearing "crib" used in this way, although obviously such use has a long history, based on your OED reference.

    In standard AE, the use of "crib" for anything other than an infant's bed is rare outside the agricultural community. ("Crib" also has a few slang meanings that have nothing to do with agriculture.)

    Similarly, the association of "manger" with the Nativity is so strong that I doubt most Americans ever think of it in any other context (although, again, farmers might do so for all I know).

    So what do we call the thing that hold animal feed? I agree that "trough" would be the word that comes first to most people's minds.


    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    In my younger days of rural living, I recall the use of the phrase "corn crib" to mean the box that the feed was placed in. I don't ever recall it being just "the crib". I do recall, though, that it often contained feed other than corn. But "corn crib" it always was.

    I also recall that a "trough" was where water was placed for the livestock to drink, not a receptacle for feed.

    I've never, ever heard the word "manger" used in this context. Reference to the Nativity scene is the only time I ever hear "manger".
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