Green’s Dictionary of Slang

crawler n.

1. a general insult.

[Aus][A. Harris] (con. 1820s) Settlers & Convicts 6: The downright, earnest life that so strongly characterizes [...] a race for whom it is one of the worst reproaches to be a crawler.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 20 Mar. 3/1: I heard from Mickey the Crawler there was a warrant agin me for that ere business of the horses.
[UK]J. Greenwood Night in a Workhouse 38: They called him thief, sneak, and ‘crawler.’ Little boys blackguarded him in gutter language.
[Ire]C.J. Kickham Knocknagow 501: Bad luck to his impudence, the beggar! the crawler, as Phil Lahy called him.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 158: We’ll only have bolder work than duffing cattle [...] like a lot of miserable crawlers that are not game for anything more sporting.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Shearing of the Cook’s Dog’ in Roderick (1972) 95: You ought to be ashamed of yourselves, the whole lot of you, for a drafted mob of crawlers.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 8 Dec. 32/1: Yer a spiteful little crawler! What did ye hit me like that fer?
[NZ]Otago Witness (NZ) 24 May 82/3: ‘You old crawler!’ cried Swiker; ‘I’ll wring your cussed neck!’.
[NZ]Truth (Wellington) 26 Oct. 7/2: He was a crawler, and an ignoble person generally.
[Aus](con. 1830s–60s) ‘Miles Franklin’ All That Swagger 25: You scoundrel, doing the dirty work of some cowardly crawler.
[Aus]S.L. Elliott Rusty Bugles I ii: keghead: Born crawler. gig: Cripes, this place is bad enough without a crawler.
[Aus](con. 1936–46) K.S. Prichard Winged Seeds (1984) 106: I hate the workers, Bill. I hate the stupid, cowardly crawlers.
[Aus]D. Hewett Bobbin Up (1961) 252: Take that to the boss you dirty crawler.
[Aus]W. Dick Bunch of Ratbags 19: He always had a lot of hanger-on mates and crawlers whom he talked to but actually hated.
[Ire]H. Leonard Da (1981) Act II: You ignorant, wet, forelock-tugging old crawler.
[NZ]H. Beaton Outside In Act II: Fucken crawlers.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 3: crawler – person who possesses few social graces.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 127: In between [the extremes of insult] lies an enormous and subtly graded range of possibilities that include the following: [...] crawler; dead loss; dead head; derro; dick; dickhead; drongo; face-ache; galah.
[UK](con. 1981) A. Wheatle East of Acre Lane 32: Don’t boder drive off too fast cos dis van is a crawler – second gear don’t work.
[UK]J. Fagan Panopticon (2013) 216: ‘You’re a fucking crawler,’ John sniffs.

2. (Aus.) a shepherd, a musterer; one who mends boundary fences.

[Aus](con. late 19C) Baker Aus. Lang. 63: Shepherds have been known variously as lizards, crawlers, snails and motherers.

3. (Aus.) a slow-moving, unexcitable domestic animal, esp. a sheep.

[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Colonial Reformer III 107: Half of these crawlers will die before spring.
[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl. 20: Crawler, [...] a cow, calf or bullock of peacable [sic] habits.

4. (US) a legless beggar, usu. moving with the aid of a small wheeled platform.

[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 162: Cripples discarded their crutches and hopped about the camp fires grotesquely. ‘Crawlers’ with cut-off legs swung themselves along on their hands drunkenly, like huge toads.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 56: Crawler. – A legless beggar, one who crawls about the streets in search of charity.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Da Bomb [Internet] 8: Crawler: Legless beggar.