One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1British Regain a lost advantage or position laboriously and gradually.‘a hostile majority were committed to clawing back power from the president’
retrieve, regain, regain possession of, get back, win back, take back, recoup, reclaim, repossess, recapture, retake, redeemView synonyms
- ‘We owed £30,000 to the record company for years, but we've finally clawed it back.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Within three minutes he had clawed another point back in a fine individual move.’
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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘But again this will be clawed back sharply for all but the lowest earners.’
- ‘Tax cuts can be clawed back, but spending can't so easily.’
- ‘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.’
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