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 22, 2008
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 24, 2013
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 3, 2006
People who are stuck in bad situations. Who drag you down with them

Comes from what happens when u place crabs in a bucket. One trys to escape the others grab their legs and try to escape so it ends up they all never get out.
Them people they just crabs in the bucket. U gotta get away from them
by Tom pnoid June 10, 2015
Used to describe a person (or subculture) that does everything in it's power to destroy the ambitions of those among them who wish to improve themselves.

It comes from the story of catching crabs in a bucket. When you catch a crab and place him in a bucket, the first thing he'll try to do is escape. Now, if you put two crabs in a bucket (hence the plural form of 'Crabs in a Bucket') and place them in there together, as soon as one tries to climb up out of the bucket the other will grab the escaping crab by the legs and try to escape itself, to which the process gets repeated to the point where NO crabs end up escaping.
Carl: "Isn't it a shame honey? How Johnny and Bobby are always constantly jabbing at (and insulting) eachother whenever they approach a group of girls, trying to make themselves look better than the other?"

Linda: "Exactly, they're like a bunch 'crabs in a bucket', they both end up as losers.
by Skaterrazz August 3, 2008
Something that one will say in reference to society, that only makes sense to .5% of humankind.
Boy in Bong Shirt: So, with all of the lower SES portion of the nation eating that specific type of food and working that particular kind of job... its kind of like a crab in a bucket.
Adjunct Sociology Professor: Umm... YES, yes, it is exactly like a crab in a bucket!
by sosa4eva November 13, 2010
"Crabs in a bucket" is the term to describe a male tea bagging his partner while his genital area is infested with "crabs" or pubic lice.
"Hey guys, last night was amazing, I got to experience crabs in a bucket and everything!"
by Thrustismyhandle July 22, 2018