[ paw ]
See synonyms for: pawpawingpaws on

  1. the foot of an animal having claws.

  2. the foot of any animal.

  1. 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 paw

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English pau(w)e, poue, from Middle French po(u)e (cognate with Provençal pauta ), from Germanic; compare Dutch poot, German Pfote

Other words from paw

  • paw·er, noun
  • un·pawed, adjective

Words that may be confused with paw

Other definitions for paw (2 of 2)

[ paw ]

  1. father; pa.

Origin of paw

First recorded in 1820–30; earlier and dialect pronunciation of pa Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use paw in a sentence

  • Bruno smelled Jack, gave a short yelp and, lifting one of his paws, offered it to him.

  • Somewhere in these woods he must be lying, resting those ponderous paws and licking his bloody flanks.

  • With his head between his fore-paws and one eye closed, he watches the tiny tongue of flame licking up the last coal.

  • She would put her paws on his shoulders, and rub his face, and purr in a most contented manner.

  • The tiger hid his face between his paws; the wild cats curled up, hiding their faces.

    Kari the Elephant | Dhan Gopal Mukerji

British Dictionary definitions for paw


/ (pɔː) /

  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

  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

Origin of paw

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