chew (away) at (something)

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chew (away) at (something)

To chew on something repeatedly or for a length of time. The baby has been completely miserable lately, except for when he's chewing away at a teething ring.
See also: chew
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

chew (away) at something

to gnaw or chew something for a period of time. The puppy chewed away at the leather belt all night.
See also: chew
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

chew someone's ass

reprimand someone severely.
See also: ass, chew
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

chew someone’s ass out

tv. to scold someone severely. (Usually objectionable.) The cop was really mad and chewed Bob’s ass out.
See also: ass, chew, out
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
He tried the straw, but, as he chewed away at it, he noticed to his great disappointment that it tasted neither like rice nor like macaroni.
Over tens of thousands of years massive sheets of ice slowly slid and chewed away at the rock carving out these valleys.
He urged the group to focus on maples, move slowly around trees, use binoculars, scrutinize the bark from the ground to the crown and look for leaves chewed away at the veins.
The Gin Kings, with a virtual sea of humanity as their ever-valuable sixth man, chewed away at a 16-point first half deficit and came back from 12 down in the third period to hammer out an 80-75 victory over Air21 and take the Fiesta Cup title series to the distance.
All that warm water chewed away at Arctic ice from below.
Komatsu 450-7 and PC300 excavators equipped with grapples and LaBounty shear attachments chewed away at the old structure, while front-end loaders and skid steers cleared the smaller debris.
I chewed away at the fish, but finally gave up, realising that I was in the presence of the piece of cod that passeth understanding.