crib = complain (Indian English / BE .... etc)

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Frenchaccenture, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. Frenchaccenture

    Frenchaccenture Senior Member

    Paris
    French,France
    Hi Everybody,

    This is my second query of the day about Indian English.

    In India, I have remarked that people use the word "Crib" to mean

    "complain". I just feel that it is absolutely incorrect.

    This word can be seen in reputed national newspapers and can even be found in people's conversations.

    My question for this forum is :

    Can "Crib" be used as a verb to signify to complain ?

    Here are some examples where the word "Crib" has been used to mean "Complain".

    Why crib about H-1B visas?

    http://www.financialexpress.com/news/letters-to-the-editor-why-crib-about-h1b-visas/429478/

    Do YOU crib about your boss on your blog?

    wealth.moneycontrol.com/columns/corporate-etiquette/do-you-crib-about-your-boss-on-your-blog-/1861/0

    The Layoff Tales: 'Don't crib about bad situations, create opportunities'
    specials.rediff.com/getahead/2009/feb/10layofftales.htm

    Thanks in advance.

    Regards

    Frenchaccenture
     
  2. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    Crib isn't commonly used in BE to mean complain. It's a verb used by schoolchildren to mean to copy better work and pretend it's your own. A crib is a secret professional translation - a great help in translating difficult passages in a hurry. A crib is also a cot for a baby.
     
  3. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Elsewhere
    English English
    I'm not familiar with it myself, French, but it appears in the OED and isn't marked as 'Indian':
    crib v. b. To complain, to grumble. colloq. Cf. crib-biter.
    It goes on to give a quote from L.P.Hartley, an eminently respectable English novelist:
    1957 L.P.Hartley Hireling xi. 90 She calls on the neighbours, she's out half the time and doesn't answer the telephone, and when I start cribbing she just laughs.
     
  4. Frenchaccenture

    Frenchaccenture Senior Member

    Paris
    French,France
    According to Askoxford.com :

    crib
    • noun 1 chiefly N. Amer. a child’s bed with barred or latticed sides; a cot. 2 a barred rack for animal fodder; a manger. 3 informal a translation of a text for use by students, especially in a surreptitious way. 4 informal, chiefly N. Amer. an apartment or house. 5 short for CRIBBAGE. 6 Austral./NZ a snack.
    • verb (cribbed, cribbing) 1 informal copy (something) illicitly or without acknowledgement. 2 archaic steal.
    — DERIVATIVES cribber noun.
    — ORIGIN Old English.
     
  5. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Elsewhere
    English English
    The fact that the sense I quoted above is the very last in the full Oxford English Dictionary's listing, coming after all those senses you found at AskOxford, shows that it is (presumably) the least common meaning of the word ... or rather, the least-known to the editors of the OED. (For all they/we know, crib = complain might be used daily by 429,000,000 Indian English-speakers. The OED is rather Anglo-centric, it has to be said.)
     
  6. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    Not quite. The full OED, to my knowledge, lists meanings in the order in which they appeared in the language. If the full OED gives that meaning last, it means that it is the meaning for the word that arose most recently.
     
  7. Frenchaccenture

    Frenchaccenture Senior Member

    Paris
    French,France
    Hi,

    It is as if people use the word "road map" after hearing Madeleine Albright speak about politics.

    If Indians are using "Crib" without bothering to find out what it really means then it must be viewed as a misuse of the word.

    It would be great if more people give their views about Crib=Complain.

    Regards

    Frenchaccenture
     
  8. wordnut Senior Member

    Bolivia
    English
    I'm not exactly sure what point you're trying to make here. One of the things that I think is incredible about English is it's capacity to evolve and innovate. I have lived outside of my country for some years and on my annual trip home I'm regularly surprised by the new uses of words that come out of my younger relatives mouths. While I could be a purist and argue that these are "misuses", it would be a losing battle as these words quickly become integrated into everyday speech.

    Likewise, I often find that there are mixups between British, Australian or even American friends about worduse. Nonetheless, I don't believe that I have any right to argue that their use of the word is incorrect, instead I accept them as regional differences. India is the country with the second largest English-speaking population after the U.S., I don't see why they would have any less right to adapt the language.
     
  9. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    "Crib" meaning "complain" sounds perfectly natural to me: I've used phrases like "Stop cribbing about it!" for as long as I can remember.

    For me, it's an informal word - I wouldn't expect to see it in a UK newspaper - but I'm not at all surprised to learn that it's used in more formal contexts in Indian English.

    Frenchaccenture, one of the things this forum has brought home to me is how important it is to be careful about labelling things "incorrect" or "misuses". One man's 'incorrect' may well be another man's 'absolutely normal'....
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2009
  10. amahajan10 New Member

    India - Hindi and English
    I was shocked to learn today after 40 years of my life that "crib" is not used by anyone else around the world except Indians. But it is heartening to know that it was mentioned in a book before.

    I wonder how it became a part of Indian vernacular.

    And I dont think you can stop the Indians from using it.

    What about Sarah Palin and her Neologisms - Refudiate.

    If refudiate made it into a dictionary, so should crib - as it has become an accepted part of Indian vocabulary and is so felt by millions of people in India.
     
  11. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    You need to unlearn this, Amahajan. In certain meanings the word is widely used both in BE and in AE, as this thread reveals.
     
  12. amahajan10 New Member

    India - Hindi and English
    What is your response to the previous post by Ewie:

    crib v. b. To complain, to grumble. colloq. Cf. crib-biter.
    It goes on to give a quote from L.P.Hartley, an eminently respectable English novelist:
    1957 L.P.Hartley Hireling xi. 90 She calls on the neighbours, she's out half the time and doesn't answer the telephone, and when I start cribbing she just laughs.

    And How do you "unlearn" commonly accepted usage of words?

    And
     
  13. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    This is a quite strange perspective on English.
    Those with a broad knowledge of English variants, or those who have been around WordReference for a while, will not be surprised to hear that a word has acquired a specific meaning, unfamiliar to the rest of us, in Indian English. There are, after all, many such peculiarities between UK English and US English.
    It's not a misuse of "crib". It's simply a use that is strange to many of us.
     
  14. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hello amahajan10 - welcome to the forums!

    I think you've misunderstood Thomas Tompion: he wasn't suggesting you should unlearn this use of "crib", but rather that you should unlearn the idea that "crib" is not used by anyone else around the world except Indians.

    As this thread shows, "crib" meaning complain is in the Oxford English Dictionary. And I use it (I'm from England):).
     
  15. amahajan10 New Member

    India - Hindi and English
    I am glad that you find this perspective strange and so is this idea of "unlearning" a very common usage of this word.

    I feel Thomas Tompion's post as being overly patronizing. I can assure you that word is commonly used by millions of people in that context.

    I was surprised, when I realized this after living 12 years in the US.
     
  16. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Did you see my post 14, amahajan10?
    The more time I spend here on WordReference, the more I realise that we all speak slightly different Englishes.

    The amazing and wonderful thing is that 99.99% of the time we understand one another!:D.
     
  17. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    Hi Amahajan,

    I'm very sorry to hear that you found my post patronising. I'd rather almost anything than seem patronising. I wasn't saying that your use of crib was incorrect; I'm very interested in what you can tell us about your version of English. I was simply saying, as Loob explains, that you mustn't think, as I understood you to say, that Indians are the only people to use the word. There are several posts in this thread which show how it's used elsewhere.

    Don't hesitate to send me a private message if you'd like further clarification.
     
  18. amahajan10 New Member

    India - Hindi and English
    I am definitely not trying to take possession of the word as being "Indian".

    I can understand that it is used in AE and BE in different contexts.

    I was surely surprised on discovering that this was not of american origin.

    I am sorry for overreacting - But I thought you were suggesting that we unlearn the usage of the word itself.

    I always thought that the word must be American slang - not having read it while at school - but must have picked it in my formative years at college where, as you can imagine, there is so much stimulation - that you dont realize who you are until you come out of that haze.

    A
     
  19. amahajan10 New Member

    India - Hindi and English
    Loob,

    I read your post after I typed mine.

    But it was nice of you to clarify.

    There is also a time lag between when the posts get uploaded. I received Thomas's 3:45 post before your 3:26 post
     
  20. amahajan10 New Member

    India - Hindi and English

    Maybe not 429 million but at least 5-10% - Usually the younger ( < 50 ) - more likely big metro educated
     
  21. languageGuy Senior Member

    Kansas City, MO
    USA and English
    I have used a very similar word to mean complain - 'crab'. But the usage was always aural, so I was not much thinking about the spelling. Maybe I meant 'crib' while I was thinking 'crab'. Hmmmm.... are they related?

    Maybe I'm actually a cribby old man.
     
  22. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    You're not alone in this, Guy: here's this from dictionary.com

    –verb (used without object)
    2. Informal . to find fault; complain.

     
  23. chengiz New Member

    English
    Indians got most of their English from the British. While a lot of words/meanings went out of vogue in Britain (tiffin, ragging, rusticate etc), they continue to have a hold in India. crib is no different. Couple of years ago, Bertie Ahern, PM of Ireland, won a lot of flak for saying, “Sitting on the sidelines, cribbing and moaning is a lost opportunity. I don’t know how people who engage in that don’t commit suicide.” So crib = complain survives in Ireland too.
     
  24. Aistriúchán Senior Member

    English - Ireland
    Interesting, there's a game on Facebook and it's called "LA Traffic Mayhem" and it says "stop cribbing about traffic! control it!" and just below the game you see "cribbing" is replaced by "complaining" :)
     
  25. Cliffyboy Member

    English - British
    It's just not humanly possible to reject a word's usage if the mind is happy with it. It will even come to your mind if you fight it or try to avoid it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  26. Cliffyboy Member

    English - British
    Although I'm now a retired teacher of English, I still find linguistics and the use of language immensely interesting, and this discussion of the use of 'crib' well illustrates why. I only looked it up because I wanted to check that an accepted use of 'crib' as a verb was to complain or moan about. The real test of the acceptance of a word's usage is the most interesting way we quickly assimilate it into the lexicon. There's nothing formal or instructional about this - if the mind wants it and is happy with it, bang, in it goes. It's a bit like the word 'napron' , which now no longer exists but has 'become' 'apron'.
     

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