verb (used with object)

  1. to demand by or as by virtue of a right; demand as a right or as due: to claim an estate by inheritance.
  2. to assert and demand the recognition of (a right, title, possession, etc.); assert one’s right to: to claim payment for services.
  3. to assert or maintain as a fact: She claimed that he was telling the truth.
  4. to require as due or fitting: to claim respect.

verb (used without object)

  1. to make or file a claim: to claim for additional compensation.


  1. a demand for something as due; an assertion of a right or an alleged right: He made unreasonable claims on the doctor’s time.
  2. an assertion of something as a fact: He made no claims to originality.
  3. a right to claim or demand; a just title to something: His claim to the heavyweight title is disputed.
  4. something that is claimed, especially a piece of public land for which formal request is made for mining or other purposes.
  5. a request or demand for payment in accordance with an insurance policy, a workers’ compensation law, etc.: We filed a claim for compensation from the company.
  1. lay claim to, to declare oneself entitled to: I have never laid claim to being an expert in tax laws.

verb (mainly tr)

  1. to demand as being due or as one’s property; assert one’s title or right tohe claimed the record
  2. (takes a clause as object or an infinitive) to assert as a fact; maintain against denialhe claimed to be telling the truth
  3. to call for or need; deservethis problem claims our attention
  4. to takethe accident claimed four lives


  1. an assertion of a right; a demand for something as due
  2. an assertion of something as true, real, or factualhe made claims for his innocence
  3. a right or just title to something; basis for demanda claim to fame
  4. lay claim to or stake a claim to to assert one’s possession of or right to
  5. anything that is claimed, esp in a formal or legal manner, such as a piece of land staked out by a miner
  6. law a document under seal, issued in the name of the Crown or a court, commanding the person to whom it is addressed to do or refrain from doing some specified actformer name writ 1
    1. a demand for payment in connection with an insurance policy, etc
    2. the sum of money demanded

c.1300, “to call, call out; to ask or demand by virtue of right or authority,” from accented stem of Old French clamer “to call, name, describe; claim; complain; declare,” from Latin clamare “to cry out, shout, proclaim,” from PIE *kele- (2) “to shout,” imitative (cf. Sanskrit usakala “cock,” literally “dawn-calling;” Latin calare “to announce solemnly, call out;” Middle Irish cailech “cock;” Greek kalein “to call,” kelados “noise,” kledon “report, fame;” Old High German halan “to call;” Old English hlowan “to low, make a noise like a cow;” Lithuanian kalba “language”). Related: Claimed; claiming.

Meaning “to maintain as true” is from 1864; specific sense “to make a claim” (on an insurance company) is from 1897. Claim properly should not stray too far from its true meaning of “to demand recognition of a right.”


early 14c., “a demand of a right; right of claiming,” from Old French claime “claim, complaint,” from clamer (see claim (v.)). Meaning “thing claimed or demanded” is from 1792; specifically “piece of land allotted and taken” (chiefly U.S. and Australia, in reference to mining) is from 1851. Insurance sense is from 1878.

In addition to the idiom beginning with claim

  • claim check

also see:

  • lay claim to
  • stake a claim
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