\ˈpȯ \

Definition of paw 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the foot of a quadruped (such as a lion or dog) that has claws broadly : the foot of an animal

2 : a human hand especially when large or clumsy


pawed; pawing; paws

Definition of paw (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to touch or strike at with a paw

2 : to feel or touch clumsily, rudely, or sexually

3 : to scrape or beat with or as if with a hoof

4 : to flail at or grab for wildly

intransitive verb

1 : to beat or scrape something with or as if with a hoof

2 : to touch or strike with a paw

3 : to feel or touch someone or something clumsily, rudely, or sexually

4 : to flail or grab wildly

5 : to search especially carelessly or roughly pawed through the box of discount items

Examples of paw in a Sentence


The dog injured his paw.


The bull was pawing the dirt. The celebrity couple was pawed by a mob of adoring fans. She claims that her boss got drunk and tried to paw her at the company Christmas party. A crowd of customers was pawing over the remaining sales items. She pawed through her purse to find her cell phone.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Perron and her family ran after him, tracing his bloody paw prints on the cement in their attempt to find him. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Dog found covered in blood, urine and feces after fleeing fireworks," 2 July 2018 Tigers kick balls around, wolves are playing together, and a grizzly bear rolls around with his feet in his front paws. Southern Living, "WATCH: There's An Incredible Organization In Alabama That Rescues & Protects Animals," 1 May 2018 Macy has already learned how to sit, stay, wear a seat belt in the car and put boots on to protect her paws from the hot pavement, according to Furman. Angela Forburger, azcentral, "Mesa Police Department introduces its first therapy dog," 10 July 2018 Raccoons, with their five-fingered paws and scrappy brand of moxie, are in a league of their own. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "How Humans Created the Ultimate Superpests," 9 July 2018 Just because Paul is an influencer, doesn’t mean he’s afraid to get his paws a little dirty: This nature pup loves the smell of green grass and the feel of fresh air on his oh-so-boop-worthy nose. Saryn Chorney,, "WATCH: Here Comes the Hotstepper! Dancing Corgi Sensation Loves Grooving to Cardi B and Khalid," 22 May 2018 The golden retriever greets Cyndy Jones by standing on his hind legs and leaning his soft paws on her shoulders. Stan Grossfeld,, "In a grueling relay, runners carry the burden on behalf of veterans," 10 May 2018 Unlike its neighbors — New Jersey, Delaware,, Maryland, and New York — Pennsylvania doesn’t have a hands-free law requiring drivers to keep their paws off their phones while driving. Justine Mcdaniel,, "Texting and driving 'rampant' in Pa., but few get tickets. Here's why," 4 May 2018 Looming larger still above the altar was a massive photograph of Pickett inside a police vehicle, his head tilted against Brik, the dog's own head bowed, his paw on the deputy's bicep. Maureen C. Gilmer, Indianapolis Star, "For Deputy Jacob Pickett, a memorial almost too big to comprehend," 9 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

One pooch starts licking Louie's toe while the other licks his hand, pawing clumsily at the tot. Christina Oehler, Woman's Day, "This Video of Two Pugs Kissing a Baby Is So Stinking Adorable, You'll Forget All Your Troubles," 31 July 2015 Partway through the taping, his orange tabby began pawing and mewing at Targalski’s right side. Amy B Wang, The Seattle Times, "A professor was giving a TV interview about Polish politics. His cat didn’t care.," 9 July 2018 Partway through the taping, his orange tabby began pawing and mewing at Targalski’s right side. Amy B Wang, Washington Post, "A professor was giving a TV interview about Polish politics. His cat didn’t care.," 9 July 2018 Baird pawed after it, pretending to compete for it. Christopher Solomon, Outside Online, "This Whippet Is One of the World's Great Athletes," 18 June 2018 On the other end, Schmeichel made a sensational save almost immediately after, pawing away a chance that would've drawn Peru level. Avi Creditor,, "WATCH: Poulsen Gives Denmark Win Over Peru After Cueva Skies PK Chance," 16 June 2018 The leopard jumped partway into the vehicle, scratched the leg of the tourist, and pawed and bit at his shoe. Richie Hertzberg, National Geographic, "Leopard's 'Playful' Bite Could Have Dangerous Consequences," 21 May 2018 All of these women who were raped and pawed and had their careers destroyed like (inaudible). Fox News, "Ann Coulter on the politicized Oscars," 6 Mar. 2018 Men from both parties have long treated the statehouse as their own pleasure palace—pawing, kissing or coming on to women with lame pickup lines, like the ones Lang allegedly uttered to Loncar. Ben Joravsky, Chicago Reader, "Politics With friends like Republican Jeanne Ives, Illinois women don’t need enemies," 5 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of paw


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for paw


Middle English, from Anglo-French powe, poe

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Learn More about paw

Dictionary Entries near paw





paw foot



Statistics for paw

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for paw

The first known use of paw was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for paw



English Language Learners Definition of paw

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the foot of an animal that has claws

: a person's hand



English Language Learners Definition of paw (Entry 2 of 2)

of an animal : to touch or hit (someone or something) with a paw or foot

: to touch (someone or something) in a rough or sexual way

: to search by using your hands in an awkward or careless way


\ˈpȯ \

Kids Definition of paw

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the foot of a four-footed animal (as a lion, dog, or cat) that has claws


pawed; pawing

Kids Definition of paw (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to touch or hit with a paw My dog pawed the door.

2 : to beat or scrape with a hoof The nervous horse pawed the ground.

3 : to touch or handle in a clumsy or rude way She pawed the family photos.

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More from Merriam-Webster on paw

See words that rhyme with paw

Spanish Central: Translation of paw

Nglish: Translation of paw for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of paw for Arabic Speakers

Comments on paw

What made you want to look up paw? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


lying above or upon

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