lobster

lobster (n.) marine shellfish, O.E. loppestre "lobster, locust," corruption of L. locusta, lucusta "lobster, locust," by influence of O.E. loppe "spider," a variant of lobbe. The ending of O.E. loppestre is the fem. agent noun suffix (Cf. Baxter, Webster; see -STER (Cf. -ster)), which approximated the Latin sound.
Perhaps a transferred use of the Latin word; trilobite fossils in Worcestershire limestone quarries were known colloquially as locusts, which seems to be the generic word for "unidentified arthropod," as apple is for "foreign fruit." OED says the Latin word originally meant "lobster or some similar crustacean, the application to the locust being suggested by the resemblance in shape." Locusta in the sense "lobster" also appears in French (langouste now "crawfish, crayfish," but in Old French "lobster" and "locust;" a 13c. psalter has God giving over the crops of Egypt to the langoustes) and Old Cornish (legast). As slang for "a British soldier" since 1640s, originally in reference to the jointed armor of the Roundhead cuirassiers, later (1660) to the red coat.
Sir William Waller having received from London [in June 1643] a fresh regiment of five hundred horse, under the command of sir Arthur Haslerigge, which were so prodigiously armed that they were called by the other side the regiment of lobsters, because of their bright iron shells with which they were covered, being perfect curasseers. [Clarendon, "History of the Rebellion," 1647]

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Lobster — Lob ster, n. [AS. loppestre, lopystre prob., corrupted fr. L. locusta a marine shellfish, a kind of lobster, a locust. Cf. {Locust}.] (Zo[ o]l.) 1. Any large macrurous crustacean used as food, esp. those of the genus {Homarus}; as the American… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • lobster — [läb′stər] n. pl. lobsters or lobster [ME < OE loppestre, lopustre < loppe, spider (from the external resemblance: see LOB) + estre: see STER] 1. any of various families (esp. Nephropidae) of marine, bottom dwelling decapods with compound… …   English World dictionary

  • lobster — ► NOUN 1) a large marine crustacean with stalked eyes and large pincers. 2) the flesh of this animal as food. ► VERB ▪ catch lobsters. ORIGIN Old English, from Latin locusta crustacean, locust …   English terms dictionary

  • Lobster — For other uses, see Lobster (disambiguation). Lobster Temporal range: Valanginian–Recent …   Wikipedia

  • lobster — /lob steuhr/, n., pl. (esp. collectively) lobster, (esp. referring to two or more kinds or species) lobsters. 1. any of various large, edible, marine, usually dull green, stalk eyed decapod crustaceans of the family Homaridae, esp. of the genus… …   Universalium

  • lobster — /ˈlɒbstə / (say lobstuh) noun 1. → rock lobster. 2. any of various edible, freshwater, stalk eyed decapod crustaceans of the family Nephropidae, found in the Northern Hemisphere, with large claws and a smooth carapace; crayfish. 3. Especially… …   Australian English dictionary

  • lobster — [OE] The Latin word locusta denoted both the voracious grasshopper, the ‘locust’, and the ‘lobster’ or similar crustaceans, such as the crayfish (if, as has been suggested, the word is related to Greek lēkan ‘jump’, then presumably the… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • lobster — [[t]lɒ̱bstə(r)[/t]] lobsters N VAR A lobster is a sea creature that has a hard shell, two large claws, and eight legs. She sold me a couple of live lobsters. N UNCOUNT Lobster is the flesh of a lobster eaten as food. ...lobster on a bed of fresh… …   English dictionary

  • lobster — [OE] The Latin word locusta denoted both the voracious grasshopper, the ‘locust’, and the ‘lobster’ or similar crustaceans, such as the crayfish (if, as has been suggested, the word is related to Greek lēkan ‘jump’, then presumably the… …   Word origins

  • lobster — n. & v. n. 1 any large marine crustacean of the family Nephropidae, with stalked eyes and two pincer like claws as the first pair of ten limbs. 2 its flesh as food. v.intr. catch lobsters. Phrases and idioms: lobster pot a basket in which… …   Useful english dictionary

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