A crowbar, pry bar, or prybar, more informally a jimmy, jimmy bar, jemmy (British Isles) or gooseneck is a tool consisting of a metal bar with a single curved end and flattened points, often with a small fissure on one or both ends for removing nails. In the British Isles, "crowbar" may be used loosely for this tool, but is more commonly used to mean a larger straight tool (see spud bar). The term "jemmy" or "jimmy" most often refers to the tool when used for burglary.
It is used as a lever to either force apart two objects or to remove nails. Crowbars are commonly used to open nailed wooden boxes. Another common use for larger crowbars is general demolition: for removing nails, prying apart boards, and generally smashing things.
Crowbars can be used as any of the three lever classes but the curved end is usually used as a first-class lever, and the flat end as a 2nd class lever.
The least expensive, most common crowbars are forged from hexagonal or sometimes cylindrical stock. More advanced, expensive designs often are forged with an I shaped cross sectional shaft similar to an I-beam.
The term crowbar is named after its resemblance to the feet or beaks of a crow, with a history that traces to at least 1400. They were first called crow bars and later the two joined into one word. They also were called crows; William Shakespeare used the term crow in many places, including his play Romeo and Juliet, Act 5, scene ii:
There also exists a theory that the term crowbar derives from Jim Crow and that they were used by blacks to perform menial tasks, giving it racist origins. The truth is the term Jim Crow surfaced around 1830, at least 400 years after the crowbar.