- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Examples from the Web for pawing
Mr. Hungerford, pawing in the darkness at the offending footstool, swore.Cap'n Dan's Daughter
Joseph C. Lincoln
Somebody's been pawing this all over, and the prints are probably spoilt.The Grell Mystery
He's been pawing the air ever since Crew cabled, and this has blown him up completely.The Coast of Chance
If so, it came quickly unstuck, and the bull emerged, pawing and snorting.A Slave is a Slave
Henry Beam Piper
For a time the best sheep-dog in the North was pawing at the Gate of Death.Bob, Son of Battle
- 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
- (tr) informal to touch or caress in a clumsy, rough, or overfamiliar manner; maul
Word Origin and History for pawing
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).