eat away at


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eat (away) at (someone or something)

1. To continually bother or worry someone. The precarious state of my finances has really begun to eat at me. I'm worried that your critical comments have begun to eat away at Tiffany—she seems very subdued these days.
2. To erode or wear something away. Don't use that harsh cleaner—it will eat away at a soft metal like this.
See also: eat

eat away at

Destroy gradually, erode; also, worry one constantly. For example, The sea has been eating away at the outer banks for years, or The fact that he failed the test is eating away at him. [Early 1800s]
See also: away, eat
References in periodicals archive ?
1 -- color) North American Scientific makes radioactive brachytherapy seeds, the size of a rice grain, that can be implanted in a cancer patient's prostate to eat away at the tumor.
Injuries continue to eat away at the Bruins as broken collarbones sideline the entire offensive line.
180), is accumulating in the atmosphere and can eat away at the stratospheric ozone layer.
You can buy Treasuries through your broker or your bank, but the transaction fee you have to pay will eat away at your final profit.
They said the birds eat away at carefully tended gardens.
During their brief but fiery lives, these heavyweights spew out intense ultraviolet radiation and fierce winds that eat away at the mother cloud and expose newborns that had been swaddled inside.
Those fees will ultimately eat away at your profit.
With a fatalistic vengeance, guilt and paranoia eat away at the guys, leading to breakdowns, vehicular malfeasance and lots of unnecessary violence.
The powder proved so hard that it began to eat away at the mortar and pestle.
If costs skyrocket it could eat away at employees' pool of money,'' Tokofsky said.
The low elevations may have allowed relatively shallow oceans to eat away at the bases of these volcanoes.