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1. verb To pull or peel something back with a violent tearing action, as with claws. A noun or pronoun can be used between "claw" and "back." She clawed back the wrapping paper on her present. I clawed the curtains back to see who or what was hiding behind them.
2. verb To regain or recover something with great difficulty and effort. A noun or pronoun can be used between "claw" and "back." The team was down nearly 20 points going into the final quarter of the game, but they somehow managed to claw back a stunning victory.
3. verb To recover money that has been paid out or disbursed, especially by a government agency. A noun or pronoun can be used between "claw" and "back." The tax agency is letting businesses know that it will be clawing back any tax refunds it deems unwarranted.
4. noun The recovery of money paid out or disbursed, especially by a government agency. Usually written as a single word, especially in American English. The government expects to receive an additional $3 million in tax clawbacks this year.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.