Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


A person who is used by another to achieve some end, especially in a duplicitous or cynical manner. Taken from a fable about a monkey who uses a cat's paw to retrieve chestnuts from a fire. I thought that Jake really loved me, but in the end, I was just a cat's-paw so he could stir up jealousy in his ex-boyfriend.

keep (one's) paws off (something or someone)

1. To refrain from touching or handling (something or someone). Usually said imperatively. You kids keep your paws off those cookies. They're for after dinner! I told you I wasn't interested, so keep your paws off me, you creep! That car is brand new, so keep your paws off!
2. To refrain from becoming involved with or attempting to take or control (something or someone). Usually said imperatively. That rotten bank had better keep its paws off my land! Listen, buddy, keep your paws off my sister, you hear?
See also: keep, off, paw

paw at (someone or something)

1. Of an animal, to lightly hit or scrape someone or something repeatedly with its paws. The dog keeps pawing at the same spot on the carpet. Something must be underneath it. Your cat's been pawing at me for the last twenty minutes. I wish it would leave me alone!
2. To touch or grab at someone or something with one's hands in a rude, clumsy, or overly familiar manner. As soon as he started pawing at me during the movie, I knew the date was over. Stop pawing at the remote control—you can have it as soon as my show is finished!
See also: paw

cat's paw

A dupe or tool for another, a sucker, as in You always try to make a cat's paw of me, but I refuse to do any more of your work. This term alludes to a very old tale about a monkey that persuades a cat to pull chestnuts out of the fire so as to avoid burning its own paws. The story dates from the 16th century and versions of it (some with a dog) exist in many languages.
See also: paw

paw at

1. To strike or scrape something repeatedly with a paw or paws: The cat pawed at the ball of string and chased it around the room.
2. To handle someone or something clumsily, rudely, or with too much familiarity: Stop pawing at all the fruit in the store! I was annoyed because my date kept pawing at me.
See also: paw


1. n. someone’s hand. (Jocular.) Get your paws off me!
2. tv. to feel someone or handle someone sexually. If you paw me again, I’ll slap you!
3. tv. to touch someone more than is necessary or desired, without any sexual intent. I don’t like for people to paw me while they’re shaking hands. There is no reason to shake my shoulder, too.
References in periodicals archive ?
The show uses Bunraku puppetry, an innovative costuming approach that brings the PAW Patrol characters to life on stage.
Before you know it, your dog will offer his paw when you hold out your hand and say, 'Paw'.
On appeal, there were two issues for the Federal Circuit to decide: (1) whether New Millennium had abandoned its right to enforce its trademark due to the company's use of a modified version of the registered mark and (2) whether consumers were likely to confuse the paw trademark Wolfskin sought to register with New Millennium's registered trademark.
There are a number of advantages for clients who bring their dogs to a groomer with self-wash baths like The Paw Spa.
However, when Tomkins and her colleagues used a "first-step test" to determine left or right paw preference, the result was dogs that preferred either their right or left foot for the first step had equally good training success as guide dogs.
Jane Robinson lays her paw print at the Pennine Garden |Centre, Shelley
I'd trade in getting a paw for that spectacle alone.
Technology website, TechCrunch's blogger Darell Etherington said that cats have fingerprints just like humans and he found that he could register the paw of a colleague's cat on the latest iPhone5S.
Paw Paw Plating began custom electroplating operations at the site in the 1950s and stopped operating in December 2009.
Headscratcher: The word paw means "to beat or scratch.
West Paw Designs is committed to making eco- friendly toys and beds for dogs and cats in the United States--and to paying its peoplea living wage.
Spartan Stores here is gearing up for a $3 million remodeling of the Felpausch Food Center Paw Paw location at 847 South Kalamazoo St.
Paw Paw Shopping Center, a mainstay in tiny Paw Paw, Mich.
A traveling man sat outside at a small workbench, making this kitchen gadget he called a "monkey's paw.
I'm expected to make a plaster impression of my paw.