means the foot of an animal armed with claws; a hand. To
claw is to lay one's hands upon things. It also means to tickle
with the hand; hence to please or flatter, puff or praise.
(Anglo-Saxon, clawu, a claw, with the verb clawian, to
Claw me and I will claw thee,
means, “praise me, and I will praise you,” or, scratch my back, and
I will do the same for you.
“Laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his humour.”—
Shakespeare: Much Ado, etc., i.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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