Meaning of claw

claw

Pronunciation: (klô), [key]
— n.
  1. a sharp, usually curved, nail on the foot of an animal, as on a cat, dog, or bird.
  2. a similar curved process at the end of the leg of an insect.
  3. the pincerlike extremity of specific limbs of certain arthropods: lobster claws.
  4. any part or thing resembling a claw, as the cleft end of the head of a hammer.
  5. the hooklike projection from the right side of an r or from the bowl of a g.
  6. (in a motion-picture mechanism) a device having one or two teeth that hook into the perforations of a length of film and move it one frame at a time at any given speed.
  7. one of a group of slender, tapering metal projections rising from the base of a jewelry setting, used to hold a transparent or faceted gemstone in position. Cf. prong (def. 4).
—v.t.
  1. to tear, scratch, seize, pull, etc., with or as if with claws: The kitten clawed my sweater to shreds.
  2. to make by or as if by scratching, digging, etc., with hands or claws: to claw a hole in the earth.
  3. to proceed by or as if by using the hands: He clawed his way through the crowd.
—v.i.
  1. to scratch, tear, or dig with or as if with claws: The cat clawed and hissed in fear.
  2. to make fumbling motions: He clawed at the door. She clawed for the light switch.
  3. to scratch gently, as to relieve itching.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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