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[paw] /pɔ/
the foot of an animal having claws.
the foot of any animal.
Informal. the human hand, especially one that is large, rough, or clumsy:
Keep your paws off my property.
verb (used with object)
to strike or scrape with the paws or feet:
a dog pawing the door.
Informal. to handle or caress clumsily, rudely, or with unwelcome familiarity.
verb (used without object)
to beat or scrape the floor, ground, etc., with the paws or feet.
Informal. to handle or caress someone or something in a clumsy or rude manner or with unwelcome familiarity.
Origin of paw1
1300-50; Middle English pawe, variant of powe < Middle French poue (cognate with Provençal pauta) < Germanic; compare Dutch poot, German Pfote
Related forms
pawer, noun
unpawed, adjective
Can be confused
paw, poor, pore.
pause, paws, pores, pours. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pawed
Historical Examples
  • It pawed the ground and stamped with its hoofs, and looked like the leader of a grand army.

    Classic Myths Mary Catherine Judd
  • Seeing that the newcomer was only a woman, she lowered her head and pawed the ground.

    Cy Whittaker's Place Joseph C. Lincoln
  • I pawed the air, raved a little, and made him think I was crazy.

    The Players Everett B. Cole
  • The beast rose on his hind legs and pawed the air, snorting.

  • He pawed all over the marble top of the table, rattling the dishes.

  • The good steed, as if he understood what was said to him, pawed the ground and arched his head.

    A Hungarian Nabob Maurus Jkai
  • Gaping, she pawed into her apron pocket and handed him a coin.

    Ten From Infinity Paul W. Fairman
  • Harry pawed his mustache and made a greasy, black mark on his face.

    The Cross-Cut

    Courtney Ryley Cooper
  • Kari walked away and pawed the sand with his feet to cleanse them.

    Kari the Elephant

    Dhan Gopal Mukerji
  • She pawed it once or twice, and then gave up the attempt with a little sigh.

    The Wild Man of the West R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for pawed


any of the feet of a four-legged mammal, bearing claws or nails
(informal) a hand, esp one that is large, clumsy, etc
to scrape or contaminate with the paws or feet
(transitive) (informal) to touch or caress in a clumsy, rough, or overfamiliar manner; maul
Word Origin
C13: via Old French from Germanic; related to Middle Dutch pōte, German Pfote
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pawed



c.1300, from Old French powe, poe "paw, fist," of uncertain origin. Evidence points to a Gallo-Romance root form *pauta which probably is related to the source of patten.



"use the hands roughly," c.1600, from paw (n.). Related: Pawed; pawing. Middle English had pawen "to touch or strike with the paw" (c.1400).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for pawed



A hand: You let me get my paws on the money (1605+)


To touch and handle, esp in a crude sexual way (1701+)

Related Terms

northpaw, southpaw

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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