from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A sharp, curved, horny structure at the end of a toe of a mammal, reptile, or bird.
  • n. A chela or similar pincerlike structure on the end of a limb of a crustacean or other arthropod.
  • n. A limb terminating in such a structure.
  • n. Something, such as the cleft end of a hammerhead, that resembles a claw.
  • n. Botany The narrowed, stalklike basal part of certain petals or sepals.
  • transitive v. To scratch, dig, tear, or pull with or as if with claws.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A curved, pointed horny nail on each digit of the foot of a mammal, reptile, or bird.
  • n. A foot equipped with such.
  • n. The pincer of a crustacean or other arthropod.
  • n. A mechanical device resembling a claw, used for gripping or lifting.
  • n. The act of catching a ball overhand.
  • v. To scratch or to tear at.
  • v. To use the claws to seize, to grip.
  • v. To use the claws to climb.
  • v. To perform a claw catch.
  • v. To move with one's fingertips.
  • v. To relieve uneasy feeling, such as an itch, by scratching; hence, to humor or flatter, to court someone.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sharp, hooked nail, as of a beast or bird.
  • n. The whole foot of an animal armed with hooked nails; the pinchers of a lobster, crab, etc.
  • n. Anything resembling the claw of an animal, as the curved and forked end of a hammer for drawing nails.
  • n. A slender appendage or process, formed like a claw, as the base of petals of the pink.
  • intransitive v. To scrape, scratch, or dig with a claw, or with the hand as a claw.
  • transitive v. To pull, tear, or scratch with, or as with, claws or nails.
  • transitive v. To relieve from some uneasy sensation, as by scratching; to tickle; hence, to flatter; to court.
  • transitive v. To rail at; to scold.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To tear, scratch, pull, or seize with or as if with claws or talons.
  • To scratch; relieve by or as if by scratching; scratch, as an itching part, with intent to relieve irritation.
  • 3. To fawn on.
  • To make or affect by the use of a claw or claws of some sort: as, to claw a hole in a carpet; to claw up a heap of dirt; to claw the leaves away.
  • To get rid of.
  • . Nautical, to beat to windward, in order to avoid falling on a lee shore or on another vessel: with off; hence, figuratively, to get off; escape: as, to claw off from, an embarrassing situation.
  • To fawn; flatter.
  • n. . In zoöl.:
  • n. A sharp, hooked, horny end of the limb of a mammal, bird, reptile, or other animal; a pointed and especially a curved nail of a vertebrate, consisting of thickened and hardened epidermal tissue, like horn, borne usually on a bony basis or core; technically, an unguis, as distinguished from a hoof or ungula.
  • n. A sharp, hooked end of a limb of an animal, of whatever character.
  • n. The whole leg, foot, or other appendage of certain animals, terminating in a sharp hooked end or in a pincer-like extremity; a chela, cheliped, or chelicera, as in insects, arachnidans, crustaceans, etc. See cuts under chela, chelicera, and scorpion.
  • n. Some part of an animal resembling or likened to a claw.
  • n. 2. Figuratively, the human hand; hence, in the plural, grasp; clutch; hold: as, to get one's claws on a thing.
  • n. In mech., some part of a tool or tackle resembling a claw: as, the claw or cleft end of a hammer, used in drawing out nails; the claw of a crowbar; the claw of a grapnel.
  • n. In botany, the narrow base of a petal, especially when it is long, as in the pink and wallflower.
  • n. In locksmithing, a spur or talon which projects from a bolt or tumbler.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. move as if by clawing, seizing, or digging
  • n. a mechanical device that is curved or bent to suspend or hold or pull something
  • n. a bird's foot
  • n. sharp curved horny process on the toe of a bird or some mammals or reptiles
  • v. clutch as if in panic
  • n. a grasping structure on the limb of a crustacean or other arthropods
  • v. scratch, scrape, pull, or dig with claws or nails
  • v. attack as if with claws


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English clawe, from Old English clawu.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English clawe, from Old English clawu, from Proto-Germanic *klawō.


  • Grendles grāpe, _all of Grendel's claw, the whole claw_, 837; on grames grāpum, 766; (as instr.) grimman grāpum, _with grim claws_, 1543.


  • Grendles grâpe, _all of Grendel's claw, the whole claw_, 837; on grames grâpum, 766; (as instr.) grimman grâpum, _with grim claws_, 1543.


  • I. iii.19 (241,7) [claw no man in his humour] To _claw_ is to flatter.

    Notes to Shakespeare — Volume 01: Comedies

  • They shewed me a prodigious claw set in gold, which they called the claw of a griffin; and I could not forbear asking the reverend priest that shewed it, Whether the griffin was a saint?

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  • That gavel will probably be covered in claw marks from the way she clung to that thing.

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  • "That claw is a goner," one of the station baggage-men said, straightening up from an examination of Michael through the bars.


  • The other end of the claw is connected to a muscle.

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  • The left claw is grasping a crossed camera and microphone to represent the ever-critical photo-op and sound bite.

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  • A fossil claw from a sea scorpion, Jaekelopterus rhenaniae, taken out of a German quarry, is much larger than any other found.

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  • If I ever get the chance to leave a cute little kit dangling by one claw from a perilous cliff, rest assured that I shall seize it.

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