The following passage is from the Call of the Wild. What do "drew" and "clip" mean?

And Buck was truly a red-eyed devil, as he drew himself together for the spring, hair bristling, mouth foaming, a mad glitter in his bloodshot eyes. Straight at the man he launched his one hundred and forty pounds of fury, surcharged with the pent passion of two days and nights. In mid air, just as his jaws were about to close on the man, he received a shock that checked his body and brought his teeth together with an agonizing clip. He whirled over, fetching the ground on his back and side. He had never been struck by a club in his life, and did not understand.

I'd appreciate your help.


"Draw" means "pull", and "draw oneself together" suggest that the character, apparently a dog or wolf, is pulling himself into a crouched position, ready to jump.

"Clip" is onomatopoeia for the sound that teeth make when you close your mouth suddenly without biting on anything.

There are two ways the clip can be described as agonising, its not clear to me which is meant. Firstly, if you slam your teeth together very hard it hurts your teeth. A dog has more powerful jaws than a person, so the pain may be greater. Secondly it may be "agonising" metaphorically. If you try to do something, and just miss out that is "agonising": "I ran the marathon in 4 hours and 2 minutes, an agonising 2 minutes short of getting under 4 hours". The dog wants to bite someone, and nearly does, so failing to bite might be described as "agonising".

  • Why is "agonizing" but not "agonized" used to describe "clip"?
    – Apollyon
    May 28 '19 at 9:27
  • Because it causes agony, either from the power of the jaws, or from not succeeding in biting.
    – James K
    May 28 '19 at 9:33
  • But we say "an agonized scream / look." Isn't intended meaning more likely to be "expressing or indicating pain" in the context?
    – Apollyon
    May 28 '19 at 9:37
  • @Apollyon No, the "clip" is not expressing or indicating pain. It is, itself, painful.
    – Deolater
    May 28 '19 at 13:40
  • Can a noise, which is supposed to be meant by 'clip," cause pain?
    – Apollyon
    May 29 '19 at 1:05

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