\ ˈpȯ How to pronounce paw (audio) \

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

Noun The dog injured his paw. Verb 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 Shoppers love the mapping technology, customizable suction power, and the efficient mopping that removes muddy paw prints and spills. Lily Gray,, 4 Oct. 2021 The Happy Howlidays kits by Pearhead come with a bag of clay to make the mold for your cat or dog's paw print impression, plus ribbons to hang up on your tree. Nina Huang,, 9 Dec. 2021 All that paw-pounding does good things for the creature’s brain — more blood flow, more neurons, better navigation and memory. Megan Molteni, STAT, 10 Dec. 2021 Tingler, through no fault of his own, seemed like a cat gingerly paw-hopping across a metal roof in August. San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Nov. 2021 It’s filled with stories about tios, paw paws, dads, abuelitas and even a Mother Superior. Anita Chabria Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 29 Oct. 2021 The film puts Vienna up against Ward Bond’s John McIvers, but McIvers mostly seems to act as a cat’s-paw to Emma (Mercedes McCambridge), who hates and obsesses over Vienna. Keith Phipps, Vulture, 18 Jan. 2021 Some states have recognized the problem of misidentified veterinary prescriptions and require NarxCare to mark them with a paw print or animal icon on health providers’ screens. Maia Szalavitz, Wired, 11 Aug. 2021 Her 2016 Ford Focus has Temple University stickers on each side of the license plate and white paw print stickers on the left rear window. NBC News, 26 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Seconds after the feline lands on the lawn, the coyote returns and tries to paw closer to the house, edging onto the grass near Kevin. Kelli Bender,, 29 Oct. 2021 Kantner documents, among other effects, the northern march of vegetation, permafrost melt and the drying of lakes and wetlands, ice storms that freeze over the ground caribou need to paw through, and shifts in animal numbers and movements. Nancy Lord, Anchorage Daily News, 21 Aug. 2021 This has been studied in animals by looking at things like which hand monkeys use to grab something, which paw dogs use to knock food out of a container, and so on. Kelly Jaakkola, Scientific American, 21 Feb. 2021 When selecting corn Phillips has some timely advice for those who like to paw through piles of corn trying to find the perfect ear: Stop it. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 7 Aug. 2020 Too many doorknobs to paw at and elevator buttons to elbow. David Ferry,, 25 June 2020 The 600-pound animal responded by pawing Horn’s arm. Dennis Mclellan, Los Angeles Times, 8 May 2020 Bored rich people wandered the aisles of Anthropologie and Crate & Barrel, pawing at the wares, some with no masks or hand sanitizer in sight. Libby Watson, The New Republic, 18 May 2020 Dove right to stop Iniesta’s shot from the top of the area, pushing it right, then scrambled up to paw away Aspas’s follow shot with his left hand. Andrew Das, New York Times, 3 July 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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Time Traveler for paw

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near paw



paw foot

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Statistics for paw

Last Updated

4 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Paw.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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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)

: 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 How to pronounce paw (audio) \

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on paw

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for paw

Nglish: Translation of paw for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of paw for Arabic Speakers


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