15 Words to Know if You Love Lobster

© Buff Strickland
By Justine Sterling Posted July 08, 2015

You can crack a claw like a pro and you’re on a roll when it comes to a certain snack often found in a beachside shack, but how is your lobster vocabulary? Brush up on some essential crustacean lingo with this quick reference guide.

You can crack a claw like a pro and you’re on a roll when it comes to a certain snack often found in a beachside shack, but how is your lobster vocabulary? Brush up on some essential crustacean lingo with this quick reference guide.

Hen
A female lobster.

Cock
A male lobster.

Crusher
Every lobster with two claws has one dominant claw, called the crusher.

Ripper
This is the weaker, smaller claw.

Culls
Lobsters with one or no claws. Culls are typically sold for a lower price.

Pistols
Lobsters that have lost both claws—usually to predators.

Canners
The smallest lobsters that can legally be caught—less than a pound but more than a half pound. At one point, they were used only for canned lobster meat.

Chix
Lobsters weighing about one pound.

Deuces
Lobsters weighing two pounds.

Jumbos
Lobsters weighing more than three pounds.

Hard Shell Lobsters
If you’ve ever eaten or seen lobsters, you’ve probably encountered hard shells. These are lobsters with fully developed shells that have completely hardened after molting season.

New Shell Lobsters
Also called soft shells or shedders, these are lobsters that have recently molted, so the shell has not entirely hardened and the lobster hasn’t completely grown into it. Many people believe the meat from these lobsters to be sweeter.

Tomalley
The lobster’s green digestive gland. It may not look appetizing but its rich, slightly bitter flavor is prized by lobster enthusiasts.

Coral
The unfertilized roe or eggs found inside female lobsters. It turns a bright red/pink when it’s cooked and can be eaten on its own or added to stock for extra flavor.

Berries
Fertilized lobster eggs when they are on the outside of the female, attached to her swimmerets. If a “berried” female is caught, lobstermen are expected to release her back into the wild so that there may be more delicious lobsters to catch in the next few years.

Related: 14 Fantastic Lobster Recipes
America's Best Lobster Rolls
Recipes for Beach Shack Classics

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