from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A sharp, curved, horny structure at the end of a toe of a vertebrate animal.
  • noun A chela or similar pincerlike structure on the end of a limb of a crustacean or arachnid.
  • noun One of one or more small curved structures at the tip of an appendage of an invertebrate, especially an insect or other arthropod.
  • noun A limb terminating in such a structure.
  • noun Something, such as the cleft end of a hammerhead, that resembles a claw.
  • noun Botany A narrowed, stalklike basal part of a petal, sepal, or bract.
  • transitive & intransitive verb To scratch, dig, tear, or pull with the claws or fingernails.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun . In zoöl.:
  • noun 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.
  • noun A sharp, hooked end of a limb of an animal, of whatever character.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Some part of an animal resembling or likened to a claw.
  • noun 2. Figuratively, the human hand; hence, in the plural, grasp; clutch; hold: as, to get one's claws on a thing.
  • noun 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.
  • noun In botany, the narrow base of a petal, especially when it is long, as in the pink and wallflower.
  • noun In locksmithing, a spur or talon which projects from a bolt or tumbler.
  • 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A sharp, hooked nail, as of a beast or bird.
  • noun The whole foot of an animal armed with hooked nails; the pinchers of a lobster, crab, etc.
  • noun Anything resembling the claw of an animal, as the curved and forked end of a hammer for drawing nails.
  • noun (Bot.) A slender appendage or process, formed like a claw, as the base of petals of the pink.
  • noun a hammer with one end of the metallic head cleft for use in extracting nails, etc.
  • noun [Slang] a dress coat of the swallowtail pattern.
  • noun foot rot, a disease affecting sheep.
  • intransitive verb To scrape, scratch, or dig with a claw, or with the hand as a claw.
  • intransitive verb (Naut.) to turn to windward and beat, to prevent falling on a lee shore.
  • transitive verb To pull, tear, or scratch with, or as with, claws or nails.
  • transitive verb obsolete To relieve from some uneasy sensation, as by scratching; to tickle; hence, to flatter; to court.
  • transitive verb obsolete To rail at; to scold.
  • transitive verb stand by me and I will stand by you; -- an old proverb.
  • transitive verb to scold or revile.
  • transitive verb (Obs.) to tickle; to express approbation.
  • transitive verb [Obs.] to find fault with; to vex.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A curved, pointed horny nail on each digit of the foot of a mammal, reptile, or bird.
  • noun A foot equipped with such.
  • noun The pincer of a crustacean or other arthropod.
  • noun A mechanical device resembling a claw, used for gripping or lifting.
  • noun juggling, uncountable The act of catching a ball overhand.
  • verb To scratch or to tear at.
  • verb To use the claws to seize, to grip.
  • verb To use the claws to climb.
  • verb juggling To perform a claw catch.


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.


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