View synonyms for claw


[ klaw ]


  1. a sharp, usually curved, nail on the foot of an animal, as on a cat, dog, or bird.
  2. a similar curved process at the end of the leg of an insect.
  3. the pincerlike extremity of specific limbs of certain arthropods:

    lobster claws.

  4. any part or thing resembling a claw, as the cleft end of the head of a hammer.
  5. Typography. the hooklike projection from the right side of an r or from the bowl of a g.
  6. (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.
  7. 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 ).

verb (used with object)

  1. to tear, scratch, seize, pull, etc., with or as if with claws:

    The kitten clawed my sweater to shreds.

  2. to make by or as if by scratching, digging, etc., with hands or claws:

    to claw a hole in the earth.

  3. to proceed by or as if by using the hands:

    He clawed his way through the crowd.

verb (used without object)

  1. to scratch, tear, or dig with or as if with claws:

    The cat clawed and hissed in fear.

  2. to make fumbling motions:

    He clawed at the door. She clawed for the light switch.

  3. Scot. to scratch gently, as to relieve itching.

verb phrase


/ klɔː /


  1. a curved pointed horny process on the end of each digit in birds, some reptiles, and certain mammals
  2. a corresponding structure in some invertebrates, such as the pincer of a crab
  3. a part or member like a claw in function or appearance
  4. botany the narrow basal part of certain petals and sepals


  1. to scrape, tear, or dig (something or someone) with claws, etc
  2. tr to create by scratching as with claws

    to claw an opening


/ klô /

  1. A sharp, curved nail at the end of a toe of a mammal, reptile, or bird.
  2. A pincer, as of a lobster or crab, used for grasping.

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Derived Forms

  • ˈclawer, noun
  • ˈclawless, adjective
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Other Words From

  • clawer noun
  • clawless adjective
  • de·claw verb (used with object)
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Word History and Origins

Origin of claw1

First recorded before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English clawu; cognate with Old High German chlō(a), akin to Dutch klauw, German Klaue; (verb) Middle English clawen, Old English claw(i)an, derivative of clawu (noun); akin to Dutch klauwen, German klauen
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Word History and Origins

Origin of claw1

Old English clawu; related to Old High German kluwi, Sanskrit glau- ball, sphere
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Example Sentences

Try not to use a towel for this, as bats’ tiny claws can get caught in the fabric’s loops.

At first glance, it appeared to be the scene of a classically gruesome bear mauling—gnashing jaws, torn flesh, crushed bones, the grim outcome of pitting fist against claw.

I curled my hand into a cat’s claw and looked, unsure what I was looking for.

Some have killer claws or jaws, some have camouflage, some taste bad or spew poison.

It’s apparent in the claw back from a 4-9 start to conference play.

My sisters Rosa and Liz called it “the claw,” lovingly at times, and at other times I was not so sure.

The dragon, now dangling by a claw from the edge of the sand tray, is on the cusp of defeat.

My personal favorite—by which I mean least favorite—is the still-underrated phenomenon of selfie claw hand.

Are we looking at some sort of formal discrimination – a Jim Claw system?

Yes, the agency did try to claw back some of the money it gave out after Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, reports Michael Moynihan.

In the middle of his singing he felt the cold touch of the Crab's claw on the apple of his throat.

The woman holds in her claw-like hand a half-empty bottle of cheap red wine.

She laughed still more when the parrot took a piece of cake in his claw, and ate it, bit by bit, as nicely as she could herself.

Two of the fingers, or the thumb and finger had been enlarged or grafted into a bone-like semblance of a crab's claw.

A dying man raised one horrible crab claw to me, called out my name!


Related Words




clavusclaw-and-ball foot