chip away

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chip away

1. To break off fragments of something. We won't be able to move this huge rock until we chip away at it and make it smaller.
2. To come off of something in small pieces. The paint is so old that it has completely chipped away from this side of the house.
3. To complete small, incremental portions of a task. Try not to get too overwhelmed about cleaning the house and just chip away at it one room at a time.
See also: away, chip

chip something away (from something)

to break off tiny pieces of something. Many years of heavy use chipped the marble steps away. Someone chipped away little bits of the marble from that step.
See also: away, chip

chip away

[for something] to break off or break away in small chips. The edges of the marble step chipped away over the years. Some of the stone figures had chipped away so badly that we couldn't see what they were.
See also: away, chip

chip away

v.
1. To fall or break off in small pieces: The old paint chipped away from the frame when we opened the window.
2. To break off small pieces of something: Don't chip away the paint with a screwdriver. I chipped the enamel away with a scraper.
3. chip away at To reduce or make progress on something incrementally: We chipped away at the problem until it was solved. I chipped away at the dried cement on the tiles.
See also: away, chip