Definition of paw in English:



  • 1An animal's foot having claws and pads.

    • ‘The dog had placed both front paws on her shoulders, knocking her down onto the grass of Hamilton Park.’
    • ‘After the terrier cornered the rat, all Padlin saw was a commotion of claws, paws, and teeth.’
    • ‘Once, I heard something scuffling inside one of the forbidden rooms, as if a cat or other animal was scratching their paws over the walls.’
    • ‘I picked her up and, sure enough, all four paws were wet.’
    • ‘The feet of the throne are modeled after large catlike paws without claws.’
    • ‘Ian remembered him best lying in his basket beneath the kitchen table, paws clawing sleepily at his pale blue blanket.’
    • ‘She strode up to the cat's right front paw, and began to stroke it.’
    • ‘The cat looked up from its toys and stretched out its paws to claw at the ragged arm of an old chair.’
    • ‘Nontoxic ink was applied to the front and hind paws of each animal to allow for later analysis of locomotor activity.’
    • ‘Poachers also sell bear paws as food and fur for clothing or rugs.’
    • ‘Access to water is always recommended, as is staying off the asphalt, which can burn an animal's paws.’
    • ‘The river has chiselled the mountain face, making it resemble a lion's paw.’
    • ‘The bear's expression darkened as he grumpily stood up on all four paws.’
    • ‘Suddenly he sat down and started licking his paws, a portrait of innocence.’
    • ‘With a grimace, Olivia glares down at her suit jacket, rubbing the wet paw marks.’
    • ‘The animal left a large paw print in mud near houses at Beaumont Chase yesterday afternoon.’
    • ‘The mastiff began licking its paw, not taking its eyes from us.’
    • ‘A white cat with bright eyes was curled upon the doorstep, meticulously licking its little paws.’
    • ‘The pads on the lions' paws make very comfortable velvet cushions for them to rest their heads on.’
    • ‘An irritant was injected into the left hind paw of the pups to induce swelling.’
    foot, pad
    forepaw, hind paw
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    1. 1.1informal A person's hand.
      ‘the Internet is the easiest way to get your paws on mucky pictures’
      • ‘You opened up the fridge and pulled out every piece of meat you can get your little paws on.’
      • ‘He wanted to pluck it from the man's paw - he even pictured himself doing it - but his limbs refused to propel him towards it.’
      • ‘Jimmy dropped his rifle and held his paws over his ears as he rolled around on the grass.’
      • ‘'Get your filthy paws off her,' I think as anger sweeps through my body but it is shortly replaced with a desire.’
      • ‘Her paws were tied palm to palm, with not only a rope around her wrist, but with string binding finger to finger as well.’
      • ‘Get your filthy little paws on CD-ROMs featuring these sirens of British media culture.’
      • ‘Don't just read a recipe book, read as many books as you can get your grubby paws on.’
      • ‘The filthy maggot has his paws all over her prized weapon!’
      • ‘Want to stop boosters from getting their greasy, grubby paws on the game?’
      • ‘At once he stepped forward to proffer his filthy paw.’
      fist, palm
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  • 1 (of an animal) feel or scrape with a paw or hoof.

    ‘the horse rose up, its forelegs pawing the air’
    [no object] ‘young dogs may paw at the floor and whine’
    • ‘She fell backwards, laughing hysterically as the kittens pawed at her nose and tugged on her hair.’
    • ‘Her whole body is shaking in anger, and reminds me of a bull pawing the ground before it charges.’
    • ‘Kat peaked through her closed eye lids to see a little black kitten pawing at her feet.’
    • ‘The blood bay stallion was pawing through the snow to the little thatches of dead grass below.’
    • ‘She faced it as it began to paw at the ground and lower its head to charge.’
    • ‘Horses pawed the ground anxiously as the warriors gathered.’
    • ‘The units are smoothly animated both in combat and when just standing around, as horses paw the ground and archers play with their bows.’
    • ‘The glorious creature pawed the ground with it's silver hooves and snorted deep of the cold air.’
    • ‘Two fine, brown horses anxiously pawed at the cobblestone as Julius lent his hand to help me in.’
    • ‘She reared, pawing at the air, and slammed her hooves to earth, panting.’
    • ‘The kitten merely pawed at his chest, trying to find the source of the rumbling.’
    • ‘A magnificent white stallion reared, hooves pawing at the air as it tossed its brilliant white mane and landed gently on the grass beneath its feet.’
    • ‘Jonah saw several of the creatures pawing at the air and shaking their heads.’
    • ‘Silverwing looked away, her hooves pawing nervously at the ground.’
    • ‘He looked about through the chilled air, pawing at the moist earth beneath him.’
    • ‘Juno looked around and saw that Riddle was right, for the two horses were pawing at the ground in agitation.’
    • ‘The horse snorted, pawing the loosely packed dirt in the stable aisle.’
    • ‘Mesa cringed, as the strong creature pawed the water and rocks nervously.’
    • ‘The bull pawed the ground and tossed his mighty horns.’
    1. 1.1informal (of a person) touch or handle clumsily or lasciviously.
      ‘some overweight Casanova had tried to paw her’
      • ‘We drive into town quick for something and return to find neighbors pawing through the stuff, thinking it was a yard sale.’
      • ‘I wander round looking like a lost child pawing things for a while, and then panic and pick up something which neither fits nor suits me.’
      • ‘She zipped open the duffel bag, pawing through it.’
      • ‘Now all three of my best friends are pawing through my underwear.’
      • ‘Little grubby children rushed past her, pawing her dress, of which they had never seen such quality.’
      • ‘I was slowly going mad with joy and trying my best to keep looking normal, pawing a CD every now and then.’
      • ‘I'm there often, greedily pawing their goods, and adding things constantly to my wish list.’
      • ‘I wanted something aggressive; I began pawing through my CDs.’
      • ‘I wasn't about to let people go around pawing a holy artifact like it was just any old piece of junk.’
      • ‘This morning I was pawing through my jumbled collection of socks, looking for a match to an olive one I had already plucked from the drawer.’
      • ‘I didn't stop pawing through my bag in search of Kleenex but looked up from my seat on the bench.’
      • ‘Yes, I'm aware they are online but I like to go in and paw the merchandise.’
      • ‘He was pawing playfully with one of her dangly earrings.’
      • ‘Desdemona locks it, then begins pawing the mirror.’
      • ‘Before I left the house today, I pawed through a box for some old unused show prep from the Diner days.’
      • ‘Kassa sat on the sofa nervously twiddling her thumbs; Vlad sat beside her lazily pawing her hair.’
      • ‘She was pawing at the camera and seemed oblivious to it all.’
      • ‘Back at my desk, I slowly pawed through all of my belongings.’
      • ‘We killed time here and there, and I found myself in a store pawing through the sale shirts.’
      • ‘Left alone for a moment in her room, I quickly pawed through the perfume bottles on her glass-and-gilt vanity tray, eager to see what the other half was spritzing.’
      poke, handle carelessly, handle clumsily, handle roughly, finger, thumb, pull, grab, maul, manhandle, mangle, mess up
      fondle, feel, maul, molest
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Middle English: from Old French poue, probably of Germanic origin and related to Dutch poot.