means the foot of an animal armed with claws; a hand. To claw is to lay one's hands upon things. It also means to tickle with the hand; hence to please or flatter, puff or praise. (Anglo-Saxon, clawu, a claw, with the verb clawian, to claw.)
“Laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his humour.”— Shakespeare: Much Ado, etc., i. 3.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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