1. a general insult.
|(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.|
|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.|
|Night in a Workhouse 38: They called him thief, sneak, and ‘crawler.’ Little boys blackguarded him in gutter language.|
|Knocknagow 501: Bad luck to his impudence, the beggar! the crawler, as Phil Lahy called him.|
|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.|
|‘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.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 8 Dec. 32/1: Yer a spiteful little crawler! What did ye hit me like that fer?|
|Otago Witness (NZ) 24 May 82/3: ‘You old crawler!’ cried Swiker; ‘I’ll wring your cussed neck!’.|
|Truth (Wellington) 26 Oct. 7/2: He was a crawler, and an ignoble person generally.|
|(con. 1830s–60s) All That Swagger 25: You scoundrel, doing the dirty work of some cowardly crawler.|
|Rusty Bugles I ii: keghead: Born crawler. gig: Cripes, this place is bad enough without a crawler.|
|(con. 1936–46) Winged Seeds (1984) 106: I hate the workers, Bill. I hate the stupid, cowardly crawlers.|
|Bobbin Up (1961) 252: Take that to the boss you dirty crawler.|
|Bunch of Ratbags 19: He always had a lot of hanger-on mates and crawlers whom he talked to but actually hated.|
|Da (1981) Act II: You ignorant, wet, forelock-tugging old crawler.|
|Outside In Act II: Fucken crawlers.|
|Campus Sl. Mar. 3: crawler – person who possesses few social graces.|
|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.|
|(con. 1981) East of Acre Lane 32: Don’t boder drive off too fast cos dis van is a crawler – second gear don’t work.|
|Panopticon (2013) 216: ‘You’re a fucking crawler,’ John sniffs.|
2. (Aus.) a shepherd, a musterer; one who mends boundary fences.
|(con. late 19C) 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.
|Colonial Reformer III 107: Half of these crawlers will die before spring.|
|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.
|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.|
|Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 56: Crawler. – A legless beggar, one who crawls about the streets in search of charity.|
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).|
|Da Bomb [Internet] 8: Crawler: Legless beggar.|