chip (away) at (something)

(redirected from chip away at)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.

chip (away) at (something)

1. Literally, to break off fragments of something. We won't be able to move this huge rock until we chip at it and make it smaller.
2. By extension, to complete small, incremental portions of a task. I knew I wouldn't be able to write 50 pages in one night, so I've been chipping away at this paper for a few weeks.
See also: chip

chip (away) at something

to break off tiny pieces of something little by little. The mason chipped away at the bricks. He chipped at the block of marble gently.
See also: chip
References in periodicals archive ?
While homeowners indifferently enjoy the benefits of tax-deductible interest associated with the mortgage on their home, many do not realize the array of limitations and other landmines that Congress has subtly added to the tax code in order to chip away at this sacred cow.
Simple firewalls capable of IP address and port inspection, application proxies, and packet inspection are good starting points, but what do you do when Internet attacks meet within your acceptable traffic guidelines from traditional enforcement points only to chip away at your application?
Freshman shortstop Andrew Romine had helped Arizona State chip away at its deficit by hitting his first career home run, a two-out, solo shot in the sixth inning to make the score 7-5.
Nonetheless, materials scientists continue to chip away at fabrication problems that threaten to keep these remarkable ceramics from becoming useful in some potentially far-reaching items--such as superconducting electrical power lines -- featured on many a technological wish list.
Until then, the RIAA continues to chip away at piracy by unleashing fresh lawsuits.
Independent research studies like these help chip away at false and often misleading allegations about Citrus aurantium while also building credibility for our brand and our industry.
Parks called it unwise to chip away at the reserve fund for nonemergency projects.
Instead, niche players will come and go, continuing to chip away at the market by focusing on specific core functionality or introducing related niche capabilities.
This time around, Hornaday is looking to chip away at Riggs' lead and make a run at his first Busch Series title.
EMC software has allowed us to chip away at sources of downtime as part of our ongoing commitment to make information more available to our users.
Colgate didn't specify how Blue Cross' products had cut into sales, but industry experts said the practice of low-cost knockoffs trying to chip away at industry leaders was fairly common.
As a long-time proponent of direct access, PanAmSat is gratified that some very modest steps have been taken to chip away at Comsat's monopoly status in the United States.
Secession opponents said a Valley municipality would be another layer of government and that it might chip away at protections for low-wage workers and recent immigrants.
Profit warnings from bellwethers Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Sears (NYSE:S) began to chip away at investor's confidence today, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 69 to 9064.