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 ?
The West Ham star said: "Being chipped away at by the competition is my role, I'm there to be chipped away at.
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.
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.
The Matadors led by as many as 19 in the second half, but South Dakota chipped away and was never down by more than 12 over the final four minutes.
Off-the-shelf tax software has chipped away at tax prep revenues.
Like other participants, placebo patients received physical examinations, attention and guidance from a physician, opportunities to talk about their condition, and other assistance that chipped away at their depression, the researchers assert.
They chipped away very successfully, and the duo, along with founder William Moses - now CHIP's chairman emeritus - practically lived in Albany while the legislature actually passed vacancy decontrol in 1971.
Then AID chipped away at the nation's health-care system and redirected its agriculture from self-sufficiency and the production of staple goods to what Honey calls the "agriculture of desserts.
Some researchers have theorized that pregnancy provides protection against emotional or psychiatric problems, but recent studies have chipped away at that idea.
Sanders, who chipped away into the advantage Spencer had built up on Wednesday when he booted home a treble, was back on the mark at Lingfield during the afternoon with Loulwa and Capricorn Run.
Sacramento chipped away throughout the second quarter but the Clippers led 46-45 at halftime.
Pictures taken by Sojourner, Pathfinder's tiny rover, provide the first clear evidence that Martian rocks have been chipped away by windblown sand.
Basically companies chipped away at costs and prayed for better times.