claw

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Related to clawing: clawing back

(one's) claws are showing

One has become particularly aggressive, confrontational, or spiteful. I think you need to calm down, Janet—your claws are showing. A few people's claws were showing, so I thought it was high time we got out of that party.
See also: claw, showing

cat's claw

An herb with medicinal properties commonly found in South America and Asia. A: "I'm really not feeling well today." B: "Let me make you a remedy with cat's claw and some other herbs."
See also: claw

claw (one's) way

To do or gain something through intense effort. The phrase is often followed by "back," "into," or "out of." If we score a goal this period, then we have a chance to claw our way back into this game. I'm broke and homeless—how am I going to claw my way out of this situation?
See also: claw, way

claw (one's) way (somewhere)

To physically exert oneself to reach a particular destination. We had to claw our way through dense brush to reach the river.
See also: claw, way

claw (one's) way back from (something)

To work hard to regain something after a significant loss or setback. He'll have to claw his way back from that serious injury if he wants to be our starting quarterback next season.
See also: back, claw, way

claw (one's) way to the top

To reach the highest level of something through unscrupulous methods. She clawed her way to the top, sabotaging everyone in her path—I see no honor in that.
See also: claw, top, way

claw away

1. To scratch or tear continuously with or as with claws. The kitten looked so cute, but it clawed away at my face the moment I picked it up.
2. To remove or tear away something with a violent tearing action, as with claws. A noun or pronoun can be used between "claw" and "away." The children clawed away the wrapping paper on their presents.
3. obsolete To berate, rebuke, or criticize someone very harshly or scornfully. A noun or pronoun can be used between "claw" and "away." I'd say that you were fully deserving of that clawing away, given your reprehensible behavior.
See also: away, claw

claw back

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.
See also: back, claw

claw me, claw thee

proverb Help me, and I'll help you. A phrase used to describe a reciprocal relationship. After how much you helped me with the budget, of course I'll work with you to finish the project! Claw me, claw thee!
See also: claw, thee

claw off

To rip or tear something off of someone or something else with one's hands or claws. A noun or pronoun can be used between "claw" and "off." Unfortunately for me, my puppy just loves clawing the upholstery off my couch. The child clawed off the wrapping paper with frantic excitement.
See also: claw, off

fight (someone or something) tooth and claw

1. To physically fight or resist someone or something with great ferocity. A man jumped me in the dark alley, but I fought him tooth and claw and managed to drive him away. She fought the guards tooth and claw as they escorted her out of the building.
2. By extension, to resist, oppose, or stand up against someone or something with great intensity and tenacity. The senator vowed to fight the proposal tooth and claw. The government has fought us tooth and claw on this issue, but we finally managed to win in court.
See also: and, claw, fight, tooth

fight tooth and claw

To fight, battle, or compete with great ferocity, vigor, and intensity. I know my brother has fought tooth and claw to be re-elected, so his victory tonight is certainly well earned. These elite troops have been selected by the royal palace to fight tooth and claw against any possible invaders.
See also: and, claw, fight, tooth

get (one's) claws into (someone)

To exert one's influence over another person. Bobby's new girlfriend must have gotten her claws into him—have you seen the way he's dressing these days?
See also: claw, get

get (one's) claws out

1. Literally, of an animal, to prepare for an attack or for defense by protracting or displaying its claws. I hate my neighbor's cat, it always gets its claws out when I go near it.
2. By extension, to become particularly aggressive, especially in preparation for a confrontation. (Most often said of a woman.) Jenny had her claws out after she found out Mary had been spreading rumors about her in school.
See also: claw, get, out

red in tooth and claw

Having, involving, or employing merciless and possibly cruel tactics during conflict or competition. Because there is a near-even split between the two parties in this state, politics tend to be red in tooth and claw come election time. Many want to do away with any and all regulation, allowing for a truly free market red in tooth and claw.
See also: and, claw, red, tooth
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

claw one's way to the top

Fig. to climb to the most prestigious level of something ruthlessly. He was the type of hard-hitting guy who claws his way to the top. She clawed her way to the top, fighting at every step.
See also: claw, top, way

claw something off someone or something

 and claw something off
to rip or tear something off from someone or something. We saw a guy clawing his burning clothes off himself. He clawed off his burning clothes.
See also: claw, off

one's claws are showing

one is acting catty; one is saying spiteful and cruel things. Gloria: Did you see what she was wearing? I wouldn't be caught dead in it! Sally: Gloria, my dear, your claws are showing.
See also: claw, showing
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

get your claws into someone

1. If someone gets their claws into you, they control or influence you in a selfish way for their own advantage. The Tigers want to get their claws into 20-year old striker Martin Carruthers from Aston Villa. Note: Other verbs can be used instead of get. These people had their claws into him and he didn't know how to get clear of them.
2. If a woman gets her claws into a man, she manages to start a relationship with him. Sadly for Jackie, Amanda got her claws into Gavin first. Note: Other verbs can be used instead of get. She wasted no time in hooking her claws into Des. Note: You usually use this expression in a disapproving way.
See also: claw, get, someone

red in tooth and claw

LITERARY
If you describe a person, organization or activity as red in tooth and claw, you mean that they involve very competitive and sometimes cruel behaviour. My wife and I both now work for companies that are red in tooth and claw. He wanted to demonstrate that Labour is no longer red in tooth and claw, but a serious political party. Note: People talk about `nature red in tooth and claw' to describe the cruel way that wild creatures hunt and kill each other for food. This is a quotation from the poem `In Memoriam' (1850) by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson. (Part 56, stanza 4)
See also: and, claw, red, tooth
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

get your claws into

enter into a possessive relationship with someone (used especially of a woman who dominates or manipulates a man). informal
See also: claw, get

red in tooth and claw

involving savage or merciless conflict or competition.
This phrase originated as a quotation from Tennyson's ‘In Memoriam’ ( 1850 ): ‘Nature, red in tooth and claw’.
1998 Spectator Life is sharper on the shop floor, too; and for small business it is red in tooth and claw.
See also: and, claw, red, tooth
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

claw your way back, into something, out of something, etc.

gradually achieve something or move somewhere by using a lot of determination and effort: She clawed her way to the top of her profession.Slowly, he clawed his way out from under the collapsed building.
See also: claw, of, out, way

get your ˈclaws into somebody


1 (disapproving) if a woman gets her claws into a man, she tries hard to make him marry her or to have a relationship with her: He was perfectly happy before she got her claws into him!
2 criticize somebody severely: Wait until the media gets its claws into her.
Claws are the sharp curved nails on the end of an animal’s or a bird’s foot.
See also: claw, get, somebody

red in ˌtooth and ˈclaw

involving opposition or competition that is violent and without pity: nature, red in tooth and claw
See also: and, claw, red, tooth
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
"Sisal, for example, is supposed to be a prime clawing material, but some cats don't like it."
To make surfaces less desirable for clawing, try attaching double-sided tape, which cats don't like to feel on their paws.
"Clawing helps cats to shed the outer layer of their nails," explains Katherine Houpt, VMD, PhD, and the emeritus James Law professor of Behavior Medicine at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine.
"Cats are rarely seen investigating other cats' claw marks." Some experts theorize that clawing may be the feline version of graffiti.
"Clawing helps them shed the outer layer of their nails," says Katherine Houpt, VMD, PhD, and the lames Law professor of Behavior Medicine at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine.
Fabrics, carpet, wood, cardboard--anything in your house made of materials your cat can sink her nails into can become a target for her clawing. "Clawing helps them shed the outer layer of their nails," says Pamela Perry, DVM, lecturer in animal behavior at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine.