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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The bear's expression darkened as he grumpily stood up on all four paws.’
    • ‘The animal left a large paw print in mud near houses at Beaumont Chase yesterday afternoon.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ian remembered him best lying in his basket beneath the kitchen table, paws clawing sleepily at his pale blue blanket.’
    • ‘The river has chiselled the mountain face, making it resemble a lion's paw.’
    • ‘After the terrier cornered the rat, all Padlin saw was a commotion of claws, paws, and teeth.’
    • ‘A white cat with bright eyes was curled upon the doorstep, meticulously licking its little paws.’
    • ‘Access to water is always recommended, as is staying off the asphalt, which can burn an animal's paws.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The feet of the throne are modeled after large catlike paws without claws.’
    • ‘I picked her up and, sure enough, all four paws were wet.’
    • ‘Suddenly he sat down and started licking his paws, a portrait of innocence.’
    • ‘The mastiff began licking its paw, not taking its eyes from us.’
    • ‘With a grimace, Olivia glares down at her suit jacket, rubbing the wet paw marks.’
    foot, pad
    forepaw, hind paw
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    1. 1.1derogatory A person's hand.
      ‘touch her with your filthy paws and I'll ram my fist into your face’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At once he stepped forward to proffer his filthy paw.’
      • ‘You opened up the fridge and pulled out every piece of meat you can get your little paws on.’
      • ‘'Get your filthy paws off her,' I think as anger sweeps through my body but it is shortly replaced with a desire.’
      • ‘Don't just read a recipe book, read as many books as you can get your grubby paws on.’
      • ‘Get your filthy little paws on CD-ROMs featuring these sirens of British media culture.’
      • ‘Jimmy dropped his rifle and held his paws over his ears as he rolled around on the grass.’
      • ‘The filthy maggot has his paws all over her prized weapon!’
      • ‘Want to stop boosters from getting their greasy, grubby paws on the game?’
      • ‘Her paws were tied palm to palm, with not only a rope around her wrist, but with string binding finger to finger as well.’
      fist, palm
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  • 1 (of an animal) feel or scrape with a paw or hoof.

    ‘the horse rose on its strong haunches, its forelegs pawing the air’
    [no object] ‘young dogs may paw at the floor and whine’
    • ‘The bull pawed the ground and tossed his mighty horns.’
    • ‘Her whole body is shaking in anger, and reminds me of a bull pawing the ground before it charges.’
    • ‘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 blood bay stallion was pawing through the snow to the little thatches of dead grass below.’
    • ‘The horse snorted, pawing the loosely packed dirt in the stable aisle.’
    • ‘She faced it as it began to paw at the ground and lower its head to charge.’
    • ‘Mesa cringed, as the strong creature pawed the water and rocks nervously.’
    • ‘The glorious creature pawed the ground with it's silver hooves and snorted deep of the cold air.’
    • ‘Jonah saw several of the creatures pawing at the air and shaking their heads.’
    • ‘She fell backwards, laughing hysterically as the kittens pawed at her nose and tugged on her hair.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Silverwing looked away, her hooves pawing nervously at the ground.’
    • ‘She reared, pawing at the air, and slammed her hooves to earth, panting.’
    • ‘Kat peaked through her closed eye lids to see a little black kitten pawing at her feet.’
    • ‘Juno looked around and saw that Riddle was right, for the two horses were pawing at the ground in agitation.’
    • ‘He looked about through the chilled air, pawing at the moist earth beneath him.’
    • ‘The kitten merely pawed at his chest, trying to find the source of the rumbling.’
    • ‘Two fine, brown horses anxiously pawed at the cobblestone as Julius lent his hand to help me in.’
    • ‘Horses pawed the ground anxiously as the warriors gathered.’
    1. 1.1informal (of a person) touch or handle clumsily or lasciviously.
      ‘some overweight, ugly Casanova had tried to paw her’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She was pawing at the camera and seemed oblivious to it all.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She zipped open the duffel bag, pawing through it.’
      • ‘I wanted something aggressive; I began pawing through my CDs.’
      • ‘We killed time here and there, and I found myself in a store pawing through the sale shirts.’
      • ‘Little grubby children rushed past her, pawing her dress, of which they had never seen such quality.’
      • ‘Kassa sat on the sofa nervously twiddling her thumbs; Vlad sat beside her lazily pawing her hair.’
      • ‘I didn't stop pawing through my bag in search of Kleenex but looked up from my seat on the bench.’
      • ‘I'm there often, greedily pawing their goods, and adding things constantly to my wish list.’
      • ‘I was slowly going mad with joy and trying my best to keep looking normal, pawing a CD every now and then.’
      • ‘We drive into town quick for something and return to find neighbors pawing through the stuff, thinking it was a yard sale.’
      • ‘Before I left the house today, I pawed through a box for some old unused show prep from the Diner days.’
      • ‘I wasn't about to let people go around pawing a holy artifact like it was just any old piece of junk.’
      • ‘Now all three of my best friends are pawing through my underwear.’
      • ‘Back at my desk, I slowly pawed through all of my belongings.’
      • ‘Desdemona locks it, then begins pawing the mirror.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      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.