gnaw [naw] ExamplesWord Originverb (used with object), gnawed, gnawed or gnawn, gnaw·ing.
- to bite or chew on, especially persistently.
- to wear away or remove by persistent biting or nibbling.
- to form or make by so doing: to gnaw a hole through the wall.
- to waste or wear away; corrode; erode.
- to trouble or torment by constant annoyance, worry, etc.; vex; plague.
verb (used without object), gnawed, gnawed or gnawn, gnaw·ing.
- to bite or chew persistently: The spaniel gnawed happily on a bone.
- to cause corrosion: The acid gnaws at the metal.
- to cause an effect resembling corrosion: Her mistake gnawed at her conscience.
Origin of gnaw before 1000; Middle English gnawen, Old English gnagen; cognate with German nagen, Old Norse gnāga Related formsgnaw·a·ble, adjectivegnaw·er, nounout·gnaw, verb (used with object), out·gnawed, out·gnawed or out·gnawn, out·gnaw·ing.un·der·gnaw, verb (used with object)un·gnawed, adjective Related Words for gnaw nibble, eat, chomp, annoy, bedevil, nag, irritate, haunt, crunch, erode, consume, munch, gum, corrode, devour, masticate, wear, champ, chaw, distress Examples from the Web for gnaw Contemporary Examples of gnaw
In the end, the ethical implications of using a drug to pull statements from otherwise unwilling people began to gnaw.
March 14, 2013
Stanley Crouch on why there are so many predators “looking for some high-profile black female meat to give the gnaw.”
March 25, 2009
Historical Examples of gnaw
The dogs had devoured even the entrails of the seal, and began to gnaw their traces.
The dog was unable to gnaw through the leather at his own end of the stick.
Sam watched her go to the house, and doubts began to gnaw at him.
Charles E. Fritch
I attempted to gnaw through the wires, but they resisted my utmost efforts.
A. L. O. E.
They burrowed under the snow until they could gnaw them, and thus they released us.
Frank V. Webster
British Dictionary definitions for gnaw gnaw verb gnaws, gnawing, gnawed, gnawed or gnawn (nɔːn)
- (when intr, often foll by at or upon) to bite (at) or chew (upon) constantly so as to wear away little by little
- (tr) to form by gnawingto gnaw a hole
- to cause erosion of (something)
- (when intr, often foll by at) to cause constant distress or anxiety (to)
- the act or an instance of gnawing
Derived Formsgnawable, adjectivegnawer, noungnawing, adjective, noungnawingly, adverbWord Origin for gnaw Old English gnagan; related to Old Norse gnaga, Old High German gnagan Word Origin and History for gnaw v.
Old English gnagan (past tense *gnog, past participle gnagan) “to gnaw,” a common Germanic word (cf. Old Saxon gnagan, Old Norse, Swedish gnaga, Middle Dutch, Dutch knagen, Old High German gnagan, German nagen “to gnaw”), probably imitative of gnawing. Related: Gnawed; gnawing.