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What Does the Lobster Symbolize?

Updated November 21, 2016

The tasty meat of the lobster is the base of many dishes in cuisines around the world. As well as being a sought-after food, this large marine crustacean has various symbolic meanings, depending on the context.

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Wealth and Poverty

Lobster is currently perceived as a luxury food. Before the twentieth century, however, eating lobster symbolised poverty, because its shape resembles that of an insect. In fact, the word "lobster" derives from the Latin word for "locust."

Dreams and Tarot

According to dream theorists, a lobster seen in a dream represents strength and determination in overcoming problems. If the dreamer eats the lobster, it symbolises regaining confidence. In tarot, the lobster represents regeneration and protection, because it follows a cycle of shedding its hard shell and growing a new one.


For Surrealists like Salvador Dali, the claws of this crustacean represented danger. In his sculpture "Lobster Telephone," Dali replaced the handset of a telephone with a lobster. With the onset of World War II, the lobster became an important symbol of the dangers of war for the Surrealist art movement.

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