de·​claw (ˌ)dē-ˈklȯ How to pronounce declaw (audio)
declawed; declawing; declaws

transitive verb

: to remove the claws of (an animal, such as a cat) surgically

Example Sentences

We had our cats declawed.
Recent Examples on the Web Kagan said amendments to the bill ensured flexibility for veterinarians, allowing for a hearing process through the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners should any vets express a need to declaw any cats in the future. Scott Dance, Baltimore Sun, 4 Apr. 2022 Tim Stark of Wildlife in Need won't be allowed to declaw big cats, display cat cubs for the public or separate baby cubs prematurely from their mothers, a judge ordered Monday. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, 4 Aug. 2020 Don't get your cat declawed—give them scratching posts and mats to scratch instead. Medea Giordano, Wired, 4 June 2020 Michigan may become the second state in the country, after New York, to ban the practice of declawing cats. Andrea Perez Balderrama, Detroit Free Press, 20 Feb. 2020 Foo Foo Kitty was declawed before the Jenness family adopted the feline. Lisa Maria Garza,, 20 Sep. 2019 Supporters of a ban include animal welfare advocates, who say declawing is cruel. Washington Post, 5 June 2019 Among the more important structural features of the package are a pledge to remake the Supreme Court to declaw its emergent anti-labor majority. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 3 Oct. 2019 With its allies declawed, America has now abandoned them altogether. The Economist, 7 Oct. 2019 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1953, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of declaw was in 1953

Dictionary Entries Near declaw

Cite this Entry

“Declaw.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jan. 2023.

Medical Definition


transitive verb
de·​claw (ˌ)dē-ˈklȯ How to pronounce declaw (audio)
: to remove the claws of (a cat) usually with the nail matrix and all or part of the last bone of the toe
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