- 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
Related Words for clawingscratch, dig, rip, itch, tear, open, scrap, lacerate, scrape, hurt, break, graze, mangle, maul, scrabble
Examples from the Web for clawing
Contemporary Examples of clawing
If borrowing rates start to climb dramatically, the hope of clawing out of the slump will fade very quickly.French Election Results: Sarkozy Gets the Boot
May 6, 2012
Three or four generations were crouched around her, wailing and weeping, some clawing at her still body.Michael Ware on Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, Accused of Killing Afghan Civilians
March 20, 2012
Three weeks from the caucus, Newt, Romney and Paul are in the top tier with Perry and Bachmann clawing to get back in.Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich Knock Heads at the ABC News GOP Debate
December 11, 2011
The president is furiously backtracking; Republicans are clawing over each other to demonize Muslims; Democrats are dead silent.America Has Disgraced Itself
August 17, 2010
Historical Examples of clawing
The leader of the greenish men paused in mid-leap, clawing at his stomach.The Heads of Apex
She broke away, clawing his face, screaming her maniacal cry.The Flockmaster of Poison Creek
George W. Ogden
The clawing hand hauled at my shoulder; he leered at me knowingly.Lord Jim
The girls were clawing at him; we were all four scrambling, swaying.
It fell, clawing and tearing, to roll helplessly down the slope.
- 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 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.