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paw1

[paw]
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noun
  1. the foot of an animal having claws.
  2. the foot of any animal.
  3. Informal. the human hand, especially one that is large, rough, or clumsy: Keep your paws off my property.
verb (used with object)
  1. to strike or scrape with the paws or feet: a dog pawing the door.
  2. Informal. to handle or caress clumsily, rudely, or with unwelcome familiarity.
verb (used without object)
  1. to beat or scrape the floor, ground, etc., with the paws or feet.
  2. 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 formspaw·er, nounun·pawed, adjective
Can be confusedpaw poor porepause paws pores pours

paw2

[paw]
noun Informal.
  1. father; pa.

Origin of paw2

1900–05, Americanism; earlier and dial. pronunciation of pa, reflecting the now lapsed constraint against a maximally open back vowel in an open stressed final syllable
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for paws

paw

noun
  1. any of the feet of a four-legged mammal, bearing claws or nails
  2. informal a hand, esp one that is large, clumsy, etc
verb
  1. to scrape or contaminate with the paws or feet
  2. (tr) 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

Word Origin and History for paws

paw

n.

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.

paw

v.

"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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