• synonyms


  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.
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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.
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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.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for pawed

Historical Examples

  • It pawed the ground and stamped with its hoofs, and looked like the leader of a grand army.

    Classic Myths

    Mary Catherine Judd

  • Seeing that the newcomer was only a woman, she lowered her head and pawed the ground.

    Cy Whittaker's Place

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • I pawed the air, raved a little, and made him think I was crazy.

    The Players

    Everett B. Cole

  • The beast rose on his hind legs and pawed the air, snorting.

  • He pawed all over the marble top of the table, rattling the dishes.

British Dictionary definitions for pawed


  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
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  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
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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 pawed



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.

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"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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper