noun, often attributive
\ ˈklȯ How to pronounce claw (audio) \

Definition of claw

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a sharp usually slender and curved nail on the toe of an animal
2 : any of various sharp curved processes especially at the end of a limb (as of an insect) also : a limb ending in such a process
3 : one of the pincerlike organs terminating some limbs of various arthropods (such as a lobster or scorpion)
4 : something that resembles a claw specifically : the forked end of a tool (such as a hammer)


clawed; clawing; claws

Definition of claw (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to rake, seize, dig, or progress with or as if with claws

intransitive verb

: to scrape, scratch, dig, or pull with or as if with claws

Other Words from claw


clawed \ ˈklȯd How to pronounce claw (audio) \ adjective
clawlike \ ˈklȯ-​ˌlīk How to pronounce claw (audio) \ adjective

Examples of claw in a Sentence

Noun The eagle was carrying a mouse in its sharp claws. The excavating machine's claw dug into the earth. the claw of a hammer Verb How can we stop the cat from clawing the drapes? The dog clawed a hole in the carpet. She tried to claw his face with her fingernails. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The urge to get out there, to scream feral, to bare our souls and claw at the universe is totally understandable. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, 12 May 2022 From wearing matching denim with Kanye West at Paris Fashion Week to accessorizing with a macabre claw choker at the Vanity Fair Oscar party, Julia Fox never fails to make a fashion statement. ELLE, 26 Apr. 2022 Splurge on the Joshua Tree tent, which has a claw-foot tub and private, hillside location with views over Bear Lake. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, 23 Apr. 2022 Shortly after midnight, deputies responding to reports of street racing near Downey Avenue and Artesia Boulevard were approached by an individual who said a man had stabbed him with a garden claw, according to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, 3 Mar. 2022 Fox has worn her signature claw-like nails in many different styles — solid nude, French with silver tips, the list goes on — while MGK likes to wear different colors on each nail, channeling the ultimate punk-rock style. Addison Aloian, Allure, 10 Feb. 2022 In another promo pic, Jenner turned the typically-horrifying visage of Freddy Krueger on its head, wearing a catsuit with a similar pattern as his skin and platinum, claw-like nails. Janae Mckenzie, Glamour, 12 Oct. 2021 Combine the butterfly and claw clip trends in one with this oversized option. Lindy Segal, Harper's BAZAAR, 21 Apr. 2022 Hennen named another new species Nannaria marianae, also known as the Maple Flats twisted-claw millipede, after his wife, Marian. Megan Marples, CNN, 20 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Schaudepot’s gift shop, as well as the showroom on the north side of campus, will claw at your wallet. Ryan Haase, WSJ, 21 Apr. 2022 The Vikings found their groove on offense early and kept pouring it on as the Seawolves tried to claw their way back. Anchorage Daily News, 12 Mar. 2022 Today’s EVs work great, and so does the rest of the widely available tech—renewables, battery storage, heat pumps, insulation—needed to claw our way out of our climate mess. Time, 7 Apr. 2022 Frustrated humans rolled around on the motor-lodge carpet to claw her out. Jennifer Levitz, WSJ, 25 Jan. 2022 The Panthers would claw their way back and eventually tied the score near the end of the fourth quarter. oregonlive, 11 Mar. 2022 That is why the two men will claw for every vote — and often at each other — in what is likely to be another close, low-turnout, off-the-traditional election calendar election. Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, 20 Feb. 2022 Nadal led 4-1 and 5-3, yet Medvedev was able to claw his way back with unmatched creativity. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, 30 Jan. 2022 Wakanda Forever will claw its way into theaters later this year on Nov. 11. Nicholas Rice,, 17 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'claw.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of claw


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for claw


Middle English clawe, from Old English clawu hoof, claw; akin to Old Norse klō claw, and probably to Old English cliewen ball — more at clew

Learn More About claw

Time Traveler for claw

Time Traveler

The first known use of claw was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near claw



claw-and-ball foot

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Statistics for claw

Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Claw.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for claw


\ ˈklȯ How to pronounce claw (audio) \

Kids Definition of claw

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a sharp usually thin and curved nail on the finger or toe of an animal (as a cat or bird)
2 : the end of a limb of some animals (as an insect, scorpion, or lobster) that is pointed or used for grasping


clawed; clawing

Kids Definition of claw (Entry 2 of 2)

: to scratch, seize, or dig with claws or fingers They clawed a hole in the beach sand.


\ ˈklȯ How to pronounce claw (audio) \

Medical Definition of claw

: a sharp usually slender and curved nail on the toe of an animal

Other Words from claw

clawed \ ˈklȯd How to pronounce claw (audio) \ adjective


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