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A crab bucket is what it is: crabs in a bucket. However, what happens in the bucket full of crabs is what makes it a famous saying.

When a single crab is put into a lidless bucket, they surely can and will escape. However, when more than one share a bucket, none can get out. If one crab elevates themself above all, the others will grab this crab and drag'em back down to share the mutual fate of the rest of the group.

Crab bucket syndrome is often used to describe social situations where one person is trying to better themself and others in the community attempt to pull them back down. Also often used in describing the ghettos of America (or anywhere, for that matter).
"Yo, I heard MC Persnickety got a record deal with Koch records!"
"Yeah? I hate that dude...I'ma go tell everyone he plagiarized his lyrics from 50 Cent"
"Shit man, why you gonna go and perpetuate the crab bucket? Playa-hatin' ass nigga."
by Lo S. April 21, 2008
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Any place where people hate being there, but are too scared, or guilted to move on, or organize, or to speak honestly about source of the problem. Where everyone pulls down someone who does something to get out and calls them deserter or quitter because they don't want to be lonely. Most likely a place highly populated with mouthbreathers.

2) shithole, hotel california (you can check out any time you like, but you cant never leave), facebook, small town, abusive relationship, college, Dilbertesque corpo, military

3) Originated from phenomenon of real life behavior of crabs caught in a fishing basket who could technically get out, but the ones near the edges are being pulled down by the ones at the bottom of the basket, hence noone leaves and everyone hates being there
guy1: At first I thought of computers being cool and solving real world problems, but now I'm aware being stuck at this crab bucket with 60h+ work week exhausting job, doing anything to look busy, since any solution to current work will result in extra work being placed on me for the same pay.

guy2: Good thing I heard of small house movement and victory garden, they might be your way out of this shithole.
by Spaceship Earth Astronaut March 23, 2013
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When a crab is put into a bucket, it will try to escape. As soon as another crab is placed into the bucket, they will start fighting one another and get so caught up in it that they forget about escaping. Basically, to get caught in the 'crab bucket' is to be working hard on something, then one person gets distracted and starts watching YouTube or something stupid, and then another person starts, and then by the end of it, everyone that was working is now distracted and nothing gets done.
"Hey Dude, come check out this video of a shark eating a dog"
"That's funny, hey Bill, come see this"
"That's the shit, everyone, come check this out!"
"And so, the crab bucket begins."
by scumpunch December 03, 2006
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