Inquiring minds: Tell me about the word 'Cribbage'

Each week the staff at the Roseville Library answers more than 2,500 questions on every subject under the sun. Here are some of the most interesting ones they’ve gotten lately.

Q.  I really love the game “cribbage.” Can you tell me about that word? Is there a verb “to crib?”

A.  Cribbage, the card game played with the little pegboard, has been around at least since the 17th century.  It gets its name from the “crib” — the pile of discards that belong to the dealer. The first print reference to the game appeared in 1630. At about the same time, Shakespeare used the verb “to crib” meaning to shut something up in a small space. That use of the verb is less common now, but starting at the end of the 18th century, “to crib” acquired a new, quite specific meaning. As generations of students once knew, “to crib” is to copy information without attribution. In our age of cut-and-paste Internet technology, plagiarism doesn’t always have the stigma it once carried, but most people continue to frown on cribbing as a path to academic success.
(Oxford English Dictionary)

Do you have a question for the staff at the Roseville Library? You can call them at 628-6803 or ask your question in person at the Information Desk, Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Ave. Library hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

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