Green’s Dictionary of Slang

claw v.

1. to fondle sexually, to masturbate a partner.

[UK]Florio Worlde of Wordes n.p.: Fregare, to rub, to frigle, to frigge, to claw, to fret.
[UK]Jonson Alchemist IV iii: You shall [...] Be curried, claw’d, and flaw’d, and taw’d, indeed.
[UK]Fletcher Pilgrim II i: Some pelting Rogue has watcht her hour of itching, And claw’d her, claw’d her.
[UK]W. Sampson Vow-breaker II i: You are ganging to your Lurden, that your Lurden may catch you by the crag, and claw you [...] till your guts gang haggergath .
‘Daniel Cooper’ [song] The Fidler kist the Pipers Wife; the Blind-man sat and saw her, She lift up her Holland smock, and Daniel Cooper claw’d her.
[UK]Burns ‘Come rede me, dame’ in Merry Muses (1964) 60: The carlin clew her wanton tail, Her wanton tail sae ready.
[UK] ‘The Lass o’ Liviston’ in Farmer Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) I 2534: I hae written in my contract, / To claw her wame, to claw her wame.

2. (US Und.) to steal; to grab.

[UK]London Mag. Feb. 14/1: ‘There’s gemmen near vot can claw a cly in bang-up style—rig’lar knucklers.
[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl. 24: claw [...] To snatch; to appropriate; to annex.
[US]J. Conroy World to Win 271: I ain’t got a single hard feeling only for one ornery pup that I’ll sure make claw for his holster if I ever meet up with him.

3. (US tramp) to arrest.

[US] ‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V 442: Claw, To arrest.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 51: CLAW. – To arrest, probably since the hand or ‘claw’ is laid on the person taken into custody.

In phrases

clawed off (adj.)

1. severely beaten or thrashed.

[Crack upon Crack 4: [Citt claws him off with his cat of Nine-Tails]].
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Claw’d-off, lustily lasht.
[UK]Penkethman’s Jests 111: As for the Leg, the Cook ought to be claw’d off for not roasting it enough.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Clawed off, severely beaten or whipped; also smartly poxed or clapped.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.

2. suffering from a venereal disease.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Clawed off [...] swingingly Poxt.
[UK]New Canting Dict.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
claw me and I’ll claw you (also ka me, ka thee)

an early version of the 20C+ scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.

R. Taverner (trans.) Proverbes or Adages by Erasmus (1569) 61: Claw me, claw thee. Beare witnes with me, and I will beare witnes with thee.
[UK]J. Heywood Proverbs I Ch. xi: Ka me, ka thee, one good tourne askth an other.
[UK]Maroccus Extaticus C2: For hee will forbeare as long as shee will beare, and thats ka mee, and ka thee, knaue he, and queane she.
[UK]Chapman & Jonson Eastward Ho! II ii: ‘Ka me, ka thee’, runs through court and country.
[UK]L. Barry Ram-Alley IV i: Women please men, men pleasure them againe, Ka me, ka thee, one thing must rub another [...] You know the law has trickes, ka me, ka thee.
[UK]Merrie Dialogue Between Band, Cuffe, and Ruffe B3: Claw me, and I’ll claw thee, the proverb goes.
[UK]R. Brome City Wit IV i: Ka me, Ka thee, an old kind of Courtship.
[UK]Massinger Guardian II i: As my Masters monies come in, I do repay it, Ka me, ka thee.
[UK]N. Ward Compleat and Humorous Account of Remarkable Clubs (1756) 313: Yet their own Works sometimes should be blushingly repeated, that they might have a friendly Opportunity of tickling each other with reciprocal Flattery, and put that Policy in Practice; so much in Vogue among scabby Friends, viz. I’ll scratch you, you do scratch me.
[UK]Swift Polite Conversation 85: lady sm.: Well, she and Tom Gosling were banging Compliments backwards and forwards. It look’d like two Asses scrubbing one another. miss.: Ay, claw me, and I’ll claw thee.
[UK]R. Nares Gloss. (1888) II 477: ka me, and i’ll ka thee, prov., or more commonly, in an abbreviated form, ka me, ka thee. [...] swear for me, and I’ll do as much for you; or claw me and I’ll claw you.
claw off (v.) [SE claw, to scratch; but note ? pun on naut. claw off, to keep far enough away from the shore to avoid shipwreck]

to thrash, to beat severely; thus clawed off

[UK]New Canting Dict.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[US]R. Waln Hermit in America on Visit to Phila. 2nd series 25: My attention was soon attracted by the voices of the players. [...] ‘Don’t claw off, Bill’—‘That’s a cooler’—‘Don’t crow yet’.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Northampton Mercury 19 Apr. 3/1: Some people clawed him off.