claw (v.)

Old English clawian "to scratch, claw," from the same root as claw (n.). Related: Clawed; clawing. Compare Dutch klaauwen, Old High German klawan, German klauen.

To claw back"regain by great effort" is from 1953; as a noun, an act of this, from 1969. Earlier clawback (n.) meant "one who fawns on another, a sycophant" (1540s), from phrase claw the back "flatter, curry favor" (late 14c.); compare the more recent expression scratch (someone's) back in a similar sense.

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