\ 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Future park amenities include an obstacle course, sun shades, a paw print walkway, a pavilion and an animal shelter. Beth Mlady, cleveland, 21 July 2022 First up are 36 small, clear-colored dots, 36 medium, paw-print dots (cute!), and then 24 larger, clear dots. Angela Trakoshis, Allure, 12 July 2022 That translated to some of the faux leathers and, of course, the paw-print carpet. Michael Verdon, Robb Report, 13 May 2022 Pet hair doesn't stand a chance against this cordless handheld that comes complete with a charging stand and three attachments—including a cute one emblazoned with a paw print, specifically designed for pet hair. Amy Jamieson,, 15 Apr. 2022 After all, modern Y2K girls are just as conscious of their carbon footprint as the paw print of their pet Chihuahua. Laura Hawkins, Vogue, 30 Mar. 2022 Oreo suffered at least two broken toes on each paw and all of her paws were degloved, the rear ones severely, the agency says. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, 31 May 2022 Good luck to all those paw-ticipating and happy watching! Chaise Sanders, Country Living, 18 June 2022 Montana wildlife officials captured two young female sibling grizzly bears, releasing one back into the wild and euthanizing the other due to an infection stemming from losing a front left paw. CBS News, 6 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Without Vučević in the paint, Donovan’s game plan required Thompson and Tony Bradley to paw at every pass to Embiid, then tasked off-ball players to constantly swarm into aggressive double teams each time the 76ers center collected the ball. Julia Poe,, 8 Mar. 2022 Customers would occasionally paw through bags, impatient for someone to appear on the iPad screen to tell them which order was theirs. Tim Carman, Washington Post, 7 Feb. 2022 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 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

27 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Paw.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for paw


\ 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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