- a sharp, usually curved, nail on the foot of an animal, as on a cat, dog, or bird.
- a similar curved process at the end of the leg of an insect.
- the pincerlike extremity of specific limbs of certain arthropods: lobster claws.
- any part or thing resembling a claw, as the cleft end of the head of a hammer.
- Typography. the hooklike projection from the right side of an r or from the bowl of a g.
- (in a motion-picture mechanism) a device having one or two teeth that hook into the perforations of a length of film and move it one frame at a time at any given speed.
- Jewelry. one of a group of slender, tapering metal projections rising from the base of a jewelry setting, used to hold a transparent or faceted gemstone in position.Compare prong(def 4).
- to tear, scratch, seize, pull, etc., with or as if with claws: The kitten clawed my sweater to shreds.
- to make by or as if by scratching, digging, etc., with hands or claws: to claw a hole in the earth.
- to proceed by or as if by using the hands: He clawed his way through the crowd.
- to scratch, tear, or dig with or as if with claws: The cat clawed and hissed in fear.
- to make fumbling motions: He clawed at the door. She clawed for the light switch.
- Scot. to scratch gently, as to relieve itching.
Origin of claw
Examples from the Web for claw
My sisters Rosa and Liz called it “the claw,” lovingly at times, and at other times I was not so sure.‘Tracing the Blue Light’: Read Chapter 1 of Eileen Cronin’s ‘Mermaid’
April 8, 2014
The dragon, now dangling by a claw from the edge of the sand tray, is on the cusp of defeat.The Rise of Superhero Therapy: Comic Books as Psychological Treatment
February 17, 2014
Yes, the agency did try to claw back some of the money it gave out after Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, reports Michael Moynihan.From Katrina To Sandy, FEMA Rumors and Failures Keep Swirling
November 9, 2012
Admitting to an even bigger trading loss, CEO Jamie Dimon apologized for rogue managers, pledging to claw back compensation.JPMorgan Chase Earnings: CEO Jamie Dimon Comes Clean
July 13, 2012
The two have been battling tooth and claw in the Sunshine State this week.A Florida Win Will Make Headlines, But What About the Delegates?
January 27, 2012
We have brains, and with our brains we must do in a scientific way what Nature does with tooth and claw.Her Father's Daughter
The bird was standing upon one leg, and in the other claw held a stone.The Room in the Dragon Volant
J. Sheridan LeFanu
Unlike any animals he had ever encountered, they did not bite nor claw.White Fang
He could hit, and he could hit hard, but he did not care to claw and scratch and bite!Changing Winds
St. John G. Ervine
He would fight them tooth and claw, and yet Lionel should not suffer.The Sea-Hawk
- a curved pointed horny process on the end of each digit in birds, some reptiles, and certain mammals
- a corresponding structure in some invertebrates, such as the pincer of a crab
- a part or member like a claw in function or appearance
- botany the narrow basal part of certain petals and sepals
- to scrape, tear, or dig (something or someone) with claws, etc
- (tr) to create by scratching as with clawsto claw an opening
Word Origin and History for claw
Old English clawu, earlier clea, "claw, talon, iron hook," from Proto-Germanic *klawo (cf. Old Frisian klawe "claw, hoe," Middle Dutch klouwe, Dutch klauw, Old High German klawa, German Klaue "claw").
Claw-foot in reference to furniture is from 1823; claw-and-ball attested from 1893. Claw-hammer attested from 1769.
Old English clawian "to scratch, claw," from the same root as claw (n.). Related: Clawed; clawing. Cf. Dutch klaauwen, Old High German klawan, German klauen. To claw back"regain by great effort" is from 1953; as a noun, an act of this, from 1969.
- A sharp, curved nail at the end of a toe of a mammal, reptile, or bird.
- A pincer, as of a lobster or crab, used for grasping.