Definition of claw something back in English:

claw something back

phrasal verb

  • 1British Regain a lost advantage or position laboriously and gradually:

    ‘a hostile majority were committed to clawing back power from the president’
    • ‘Within three minutes he had clawed another point back in a fine individual move.’
    • ‘During his time as editor, it consistently won its ratings battle, clawing back ground which had been lost to its great rival over a long period.’
    • ‘Point by point they clawed back the deficit and at last drew level with two minutes to go.’
    • ‘However the Wildcats gradually clawed it back and, in the end, it was the superior experience and craft of the Wildcats girls that proved to be the vital difference.’
    • ‘We owed £30,000 to the record company for years, but we've finally clawed it back.’
    retrieve, get back, win back, take back, recoup, reclaim, repossess, recapture, retake, redeem
    View synonyms
  • 2(of a government) recover money paid out in the form of an allowance or benefit, typically by taxation:

    ‘the government is trying to claw back the pay rises extracted by workers since deregulation of food prices’
    • ‘The silence from high-street tills could prove deafening as that cash is clawed back.’
    • ‘Tax cuts can be clawed back, but spending can't so easily.’
    • ‘But again this will be clawed back sharply for all but the lowest earners.’
    • ‘Councillors are now demanding to know why the massive overpayments of housing and council tax benefits have occurred and why only a third of the money has been clawed back by the council.’
    • ‘The government had promised the lump sum would never push an individual into a higher tax bracket, which could result in 40% of the payment being clawed back.’