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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The technology also makes it possible to guide or steer chips away from the cut and increases tool life.
Summary: Though PM Saad HaririAaAaAeA{Es resignation was an unexpected developmen it was inevitable something, somewhere would give as IranAaAaAeA{Es interventi in Lebanon through Hezbollah and its allies reaches an unacceptable level, rendering the premier and his Cabinet helpless witnesses to a situation that chips away at the countryAaAaAeA{Es independence, securit stability and national unity.
It is one more thing that chips away at how you and the industry does business, and how Americans go about their lives as it relates to gun ownership.
The high-pressure jet then breaks and lifts the chips away from the cutting area without damaging components or tooling.
The physical combination of high velocity and high pressure forces the hot chips away, allowing the insert to operate at more consistent lower temperatures.
I came across Chips Away, the franchise outfit that repairs chips, scratches and dents to car body work." Ron thought the Chips Away franchise package sounded ideal.
PLYMOUTH boss Ian Holloway is enjoying his first ever Cup run and says it's Heaven-sent as he chips away at putting his side on the map.
While the cover of this attractive book appears to have been made by cutting Le Corbusier's original jacket designs into ribbons, Catherine de Smet chips away at the great man's publishing edifice more carefully.
Paul Shrimpton from Hexham has launched Chips Away, a franchise repairing scuffs and scratches on cars.
Still, Clive Barnes, DM's senior consulting editor, likens a ballerina's body to a "Stradivarius violin that chips away over time." Even with the best Russian training, few dancers perform longer than their Western counterparts.
GIVEN that any paint man worth his spray gun charges pounds 300 just to open the tin these days, I was hugely taken with the services of a company called Chips Away. They come to your house and will repair anything from the tiniest chip to dents, bumper scuffs, kerbed alloy wheels and even holes in your upholstery.
Bush has been promoting an agenda that chips away at the constitutional wall between church and state.
The court's conclusion that there is no exception from capitalization for routine expenses is a major win for the IRS, strengthening its hand as it chips away at expenses traditionally treated as currently deductible.
While studying the effects of laser ablation on a magnesium oxide crystal, Dickinson and his colleagues observed that the laser chips away atoms along the blue-light-emitting cleavages in the crystal.