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crib notes

notes for cheating during school exams


crib notes = der Spickzettel --- How important is this English word? crib notes: 135,000 Google Hits



The candidates constantly referred to their CRIB NOTES during the interviews.

Several students were caught using CRIB NOTES during final exams and were subsequently dismissed from school.

Did you

crib notes
noun phrase

A piece of paper that contains notes or information, used for cheating during an exam.

(Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)


The verb crib means to cheat or plagiarise (plagiieren) and can be traced to the 1700s. Exactly how this form developed is unknown. There are early examples such as time-cribbing, which was a trick used by factory workers to let their machines run past normal work hours in order to add a few minutes to their time cards (time cards being used to calculate how long an employee worked on the job).

The original meaning of crib notes referred to small slips of paper used by students to help them get through an exam (sometimes simply written on the palm of the hand).

Meanwhile, the phrase has expanded to include any type of notes that aid in carrying out a task, particularly if it involves public speaking engagements, lectures or presentations. In the early days of his presidency, George W. Bush was ridiculed in the press for allegedly carrying crib notes in his pockets.

crib sheet, cheat sheet

say something like:

“I forgot the crib notes for my speech at the company meeting, but once I got started I discovered I didn't need them after all.”

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