[paw] /pɔ/

the foot of an animal having claws.
the foot of any animal.
Informal. the human hand, especially one that is large, rough, or clumsy:
Keep your paws off my property.
verb (used with object)
to strike or scrape with the paws or feet:
a dog pawing the door.
Informal. to handle or caress clumsily, rudely, or with unwelcome familiarity.
verb (used without object)
to beat or scrape the floor, ground, etc., with the paws or feet.
Informal. to handle or caress someone or something in a clumsy or rude manner or with unwelcome familiarity.
any of the feet of a four-legged mammal, bearing claws or nails
(informal) a hand, esp one that is large, clumsy, etc
to scrape or contaminate with the paws or feet
(transitive) (informal) to touch or caress in a clumsy, rough, or overfamiliar manner; maul

c.1300, from Old French powe, poe “paw, fist,” of uncertain origin. Evidence points to a Gallo-Romance root form *pauta which probably is related to the source of patten.

“use the hands roughly,” c.1600, from paw (n.). Related: Pawed; pawing. Middle English had pawen “to touch or strike with the paw” (c.1400).


A hand: You let me get my paws on the money (1605+)


To touch and handle, esp in a crude sexual way (1701+)

Related Terms

northpaw, southpaw


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