[Note: Parts of this entry were previously at crawdad.]
crawdab n Also crawdabber [Appar of Engl dial origin; cf EDD Suppl. crawdabs sb. pl. “Hmp. Crayfish.” If so, then the more common crawdad n 1 is prob a folk-etym var.] scattered Midl, now esp Appalachians
= crawfish n B1.
1897 Morning World–Herald (Omaha NE) 25 Oct 6/7, Crawdabs? Are there many of them around Omaha? Well, I should say ‘yes.’ . . They are nothing but crawfish. 1906 Ade In Pastures 262 nwIN, Do you recall, O male reader, how you writhed in humiliation . . when the good little Rollo of your native town was constantly dangled before your depraved soul as the paragon of juvenile virtues? . . “Rollo never carries craw dabbers in his Sunday clothes.” 1907 IA State Reg. & Farmer (Des Moines) 13 Sept 3/1, I would rather a boy of mine would visit the mill pond and catch “craw dabs” than to have him loafing around a country store. 1923 DN 5.204 swMO, Craw dad. . . Also Craw dab, Craw pappy. 1932 Charleston Gaz. (WV) 21 Aug mag sec 5/1, And now we get down to the real meat of today’s article; i. e., whether to take off or leave on craw-dab pinchers in live bait fishing. 1957 Raleigh Reg. Beckley Post–Herald (WV) 6 Oct 7/6, Although Howard’s Creek is often called a “craw-dab hole,” this ambitious young American was determined it would make a perfect fishing spot. 1961 Charleston Daily Mail (WV) 20 Feb 8/1, Boyhood Memories. . . Hunting crawdabbers in the creek (they call ’em crayfish today). 1968 Mt. Life 44.10.14 KY, From there to the bench she progressed backward like a crawdabber, lowering herself by elbows and knees, sparing her hands and feet. 1968 DARE FW Addit cWV, I heard a little girl say “crawdabber” in conversation. 1971 Eve. Std. (Uniontown PA) 7 June 12/1, Recreational activities include swimming and diving . . , go-kart driving, and crawdab hunting. 1986 Pederson LAGS Concordance (Crawfish) 9 infs, 7 eTN, Crawdab(s). 1987 Goldenseal 13.2.53 WV, At Acme, I remember looking for “craw-dabs,” as we called them. 2014 in 2017 DARE File—Internet eTN, As a native East Tennesseean, I can attest to the fact that some folks here call them crawdabs. I, however, have always called them crawdads. 2017 Ibid WV (as of c1940), We would also catch a few craw dabbers (cray fish) too.