claw2 [intransitive and transitive]
to tear or pull at something, using claws or your fingers
The cat keeps clawing at the rug.
to try very hard to reach a place or position, using a lot of effort and determination
claw your way up/along/back etc
He clawed his way forward inch by inch.
Benson clawed his way back into the lead.
claw something ↔ backphrasal verb
to get back something that you had lost, by trying very hard:
The company has managed to claw back its share of the market.
2 British English
if a government or organization claws back money it has given to people, it takes it back