\ 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


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

In a video of the incident that was shared widely, the tiger appeared to be trying to block the blows with its paws. Kai Schultz,, "India’s wild tiger population rises, despite conflict with humans," 29 July 2019 Previous research from collaborators at the University of Chicago had created a model of how nonhuman primates’ brains reacted to touching a surface with their paws. Jeffrey Delviscio, Scientific American, "A Robot Hand Helps Amputees “Feel” Again," 24 July 2019 Skin, teeth, paws, and claws are used in traditional rituals and medicine, and there’s a growing market for lion parts in Asia as well. Olivia Prentzel, National Geographic, "Where lions once ruled, they are now quietly disappearing," 18 July 2019 Prolonged or repetitive behaviors, like pacing or paw chewing, with no discernible purpose are called stereotypies. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Your Cat’s Attitude Actually Is Closely Linked to Its Breed, Survey Shows," 19 June 2019 Esperanza has a deformed front paw, which doesn't really slow her down. Joy Sewing, Houston Chronicle, "These Harris County animals will be euthanize if not adopted, fostered," 5 June 2019 Wearing a small paw print on his cap in honor of his dog Astro, who died during the All-Star break, Price gave up four runs, one earned, in five innings, allowing four hits, striking out seven and walking three on a season-high 113 pitches. Ken Powtak,, "Dodgers series finale another long night for Red Sox," 15 July 2019 When a British peer is found dead with the paw prints of a gigantic hound beside his body, the hunt for genre cliche fun is elementary., "South Calendar: What’s happening this week," 10 July 2019 The altercation between the woman and the dogs likely began at an industrial yard near the warehouse store and ended in the parking lot based on paw prints and other evidence at the scene, McCauley said. Los Angeles Times,, "Woman found dead in Costco parking lot was mauled by dogs, police say," 18 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

All the lines to and from the world, all the hungry beings clawing and sucking and pawing at it, everything cut off. David Canfield,, "Ready for more Slayer? Get a first look at Kiersten White's next Buffy-based novel," 17 July 2019 In the clip, which seems to have been taken from a security camera facing Stinziano’s backyard, the bear looks curious, stepping onto a bench and pawing at a bird feeder. Ashley Boucher,, "Fearless Dog Chases Off Huge Black Bear Prowling Around New Jersey Man's Backyard," 12 July 2019 Nineteen canine competitors flocked to California’s Sonoma County last Friday, all pawing for the coveted title of World’s Ugliest Dog. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Meet Scamp the Tramp, the World’s Ugliest Dog," 25 June 2019 As Cherry discussed her journey, Apollo anxiously stood in the barn, cross tied, pawing at the ground and impatiently nudging Cherry. Grace Hollars, Indianapolis Star, "'It affects all of us': Why this abuse survivor is riding her horse through 48 states," 24 June 2019 Veterinarians report symptoms of peppermint oil poisoning in cats include difficulty breathing, trouble walking, excessive drooling, lethargy, muscle tremors, pawing at the mouth, redness or burns in and around the mouth, and vomiting. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "Seemingly benign skunk deterrent can be dangerous for cats," 14 June 2019 When dogs were first domesticated, individuals that could readily respond to humans—both their direct commands and their indirect body language—had a leg (or paw) up over their more wary and socially challenged counterparts. Carrie Arnold, National Geographic, "If you’re chronically stressed, your dog could be too," 6 June 2019 Fitness Mallory Pugh paws a soccer ball like a panther does its prey. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "U.S. Soccer's Mallory Pugh on Age, Confidence, and Staying in the Game," 15 Mar. 2019 All that careful counting and pawing through the register for change is slow. Town & Country, "Is This the End of Cash?," 28 Jan. 2019

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

14 Aug 2019

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
informal + disapproving : 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 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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on paw

Rhyming Dictionary: 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

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of or relating to the heavens

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