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
References in periodicals archive ?
Knowing that real love is what remains After perfection is chipped away. Pat Bidmead Nuneaton
And it proved to be a period of success on the personal best front having recorded an 800m PB, the previous week, as well as marking a new one in the 1500m as her time of 4.11.96 chipped away at her previous best.
"We chipped away and we had our chances," Barrington said.
The West Ham star said: "Being chipped away at by the competition is my role, I'm there to be chipped away at.
Fighting back from a 34-21 deficit at halftime, the girls of coach Patrick Henry Aquino slowly chipped away the Thais' advantage and got to as close as four, 59-55 courtesy of a Trixie Antiquera split from the line with 2:34 left.
We played so poor early, but we chipped away and chipped away and just played really great defense."
Meanwhile, Bohs chipped away at their substantial Revenue bill yesterday by lodging another payment.
"Their try was unnecessary and I ended up with a few more grey hairs as they chipped away and I did think we were going to throw it away.
First, the Brady Campaign chipped away in Sacramento and Los Angeles, leading the way for those cities' ammunition-sales ordinances, and building the momentum that took them into the governor's office.
Alonso had the better of Hamilton in Italy and Belgium and the Spaniard has chipped away at Hamilton's lead in the last three grands prix.
In order to remove the beams, enough concrete had to be chipped away from the each end to make way for a torch to cut the beams away.
Years of heightened judicial scrutiny of corporate attorney-client relationships have chipped away at this protection, and the recent spate of high-profile scandals has encouraged prosecutors to ferret out confidential information in the interest of having companies come clean.
Off-the-shelf tax software has chipped away at tax prep revenues.
As a result, even before World War One, tensions between party headquarters and its branches outside of the big cities chipped away at the strength of the SPD, alienating locals from the central administration and weakening the party's overall response to competing political formations.