Green’s Dictionary of Slang

crib n.1

[16C SE crib, a small house or narrow room; the term evolved into 19C cant, and has survived in 20C+ US black use]

1. [late 16C+] (UK Und.; post-WWII chiefly US black) a dwelling house, an apartment.

2. [19C-1900s] (UK Und.) a thieves’ hideout.

3. [early 19C+] a bed.

4. [early 19C] a burial ground.

5. [early–mid-19C] a public house.

6. [early 19C+] a small, cheap brothel or ‘low’ saloon; also attrib.; thus crib-girl, a prostitute.

7. [early–mid-19C] a shop.

8. [mid-19C] the vagina.

9. [mid-19C+] (UK/US Und.) a prison cell.

10. [early 19C] (Aus.) an outback lodging house.

11. [mid-19C–1900s] a berth, a situation, a job, e.g. a snug crib, a safe place.

12. [mid-19C–1960s] (UK/US Und.) a casino.

13. [mid-19C] a cheap theatre.

14. [late 19C–1940s] a place that is a target for a break-in or robbery.

15. [late 19C–1950s] the room in a brothel where a prostitute services her clients.

16. [1900s–60s] (Aus./US) a cheap café or restaurant.

17. [1910s] (Aus.) a non-specified place.

18. [1910s–80s] (US Und.) a safe.

19. [1930s+] (US Und.) a room kept by a streetwalker to which she could take her clients for sex.

20. [1970s+] (US gay) a private cubicle rented out at a gay bath-house.

In compounds

crib-cracking (n.) [crack v.2 (2d)]

[mid-19C–1940s] (orig. UK Und.) house-breaking; also attrib.

crib-house (n.) (also crib shack) [house n.1 (1)]

[late 19C-1950s] a brothel, esp. a small and dirty one.

crib joint (n.) [joint n. (3b)]

[1910s–40s] a brothel, esp. a small and dirty one.

crib-keeper (n.)

[mid-19C] (US und.) the madame of a brothel.

crib lay (n.) [lay n.3 (1)]

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) a burglary.

crib man (n.) [late 19C–1940s] (US Und.)

a safebreaker.

In phrases

crack a crib (v.)

[19C+] (UK Und.) to break into a house or shop.

do a crib (v.) (also lurk a crib)

[mid-19C+] (orig. US Und.) to break and enter premises for the purpose of robbery.

square crib (n.)

[early 19C] a respectable house.