\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

That’s the best part, seeing the most adorable L.A. puppies running around feeling dirt underneath their paws for the first time in their lives. Jen Ortiz, Marie Claire, "Get to Know Lana Condor, Star of Netflix's New Rom-Com," 15 Aug. 2018 The skin on the bottom of a dog's paw can burn after just minutes on the hot surface. Bree Burkitt, azcentral, "Fulton Homes to give away free booties at PetSmart to protect pups from scorching concrete," 20 May 2018 While studies have shown that having a pet can help you live longer, the day-to-day tasks of caring for a pet—constantly vacuuming up canine fur, mopping up muddy paw prints, and/or drying up drool—can be exhausting. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "If You Have A Pet, You Need This Doggy Room," 25 Oct. 2018 Couple job sites going -found the dog on top of the stove paws in s to-go container from last night. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Nicole Curtis Looks Stronger Than Ever in New Swimsuit Photo," 13 Aug. 2018 Through its research, found 10 international airlines that get the paw of approval. Kelli Bender,, "The Best and Worst International Airlines to Fly with Your Pets," 5 July 2018 Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks The canine teeth were too short, the front paws were too small, but its claws were too long, according to the release. Matthew Martinez, idahostatesman, "Wolf-dog? Wolf-man? 'Something mythical'? Montana authorities trying to ID this beast | Idaho Statesman," 25 May 2018 Foles did pull the most painful thorn from the paw of the lion, but unlike Androcles, who was granted unrestricted free agency, Foles’ reward is limited by the terms of his contract. Bob Ford,, "Biggest Super Bowl benefit for the Eagles? The benefit of the doubt | Bob Ford," 23 Feb. 2018 Hot pavement and hot sand can cause burns on paw pads, which can get infected. Bethany Ao,, "How to keep your dogs and cats cool when it's hot," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Manuel Uribe missed by smashing his effort against the crossbar to level things up, then Pickford dived to keep out Carlos Bacca, pawing the ball away with his trailing left hand. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "22 years later, the weight of the world is off England's shoulders," 3 July 2018 For pet dogs and cats, owners should look for any signs of breathing trouble, coughing or pawing at the eyes and nose, veterinarians said. Paige Cornwell, The Seattle Times, "Until Seattle smoke subsides, play fetch with Fido inside, veterinarians say," 20 Aug. 2018 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

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

4 Dec 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

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

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