1. A sharp, curved, horny structure at the end of a toe of a vertebrate animal.
a. A chela or similar pincerlike structure on the end of a limb of a crustacean or arachnid.
b. One of one or more small curved structures at the tip of an appendage of an invertebrate, especially an insect or other arthropod.
c. A limb terminating in such a structure.
3. Something, such as the cleft end of a hammerhead, that resembles a claw.
4. Botany A narrowed, stalklike basal part of a petal, sepal, or bract.
tr. & intr.v. clawed, claw·ing, claws
To scratch, dig, tear, or pull with the claws or fingernails.
[Middle English clawe, from Old English clawu.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.