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gnash (one's) teeth

To erupt or lash out in anger. The boss will definitely start gnashing his teeth once he hears about this printing mishap.
See also: gnash, teeth

gnashing of teeth

A very vocal display of anger, irritation, contempt, or complaint. After the initial gnashing of teeth, most people just came to accept the new policy. There was much gnashing of teeth over the decision to replace the show's star with another actor.
See also: gnash, of, teeth
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

gnash one's teeth

Fig. to grind or bite noisily with one's teeth. Bill clenched his fists and gnashed his teeth in anger. The wolf gnashed its teeth and chased after the deer.
See also: gnash, teeth

gnashing of teeth

Fig. a show of anger or dismay. (Biblical: "weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.") After a little gnashing of teeth and a few threats, the boss calmed down and became almost reasonable.
See also: gnash, of, teeth
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

gnash one's teeth

Express a strong emotion, usually rage, as in When Jonah found out he was not going to be promoted, he gnashed his teeth. This expression is actually redundant, since gnash means "to strike the teeth together." Edmund Spenser used it in The Faerie Queene (1590): "And both did gnash their teeth." [Late 1500s]
See also: gnash, teeth
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

gnashing of teeth


wailing and gnashing of teeth

People say that there is gnashing of teeth or wailing and gnashing of teeth when people become very worried or upset by something that has happened. In the City, the government's proposal is causing much gnashing of teeth. Despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth from Social Democratic left-wingers, this does look like a first step in the right direction. Note: You can also say weeping and gnashing of teeth. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth when the Office for National Statistics counted a million fewer people than expected. Note: This expression is often used disapprovingly to show that you think people's reactions are too strong. Note: The phrases `weeping and gnashing of teeth' and `wailing and gnashing of teeth' both appear several times in the Bible in descriptions of the people who are sent to hell.
See also: gnash, of, teeth

gnash your teeth

COMMON If someone gnashes their teeth, they show their anger or annoyance about something. If Blythe heard that piece on the radio, I bet he was gnashing his teeth. He naturally gnashes his teeth over the growing number of lawsuits that have made doing business in America increasingly expensive and difficult.
See also: gnash, teeth
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

gnash your teeth

feel or express anger or fury.
The gnashing of teeth, along with weeping or wailing, is used throughout the Bible to express a mixture of remorse and rage (for example, in Matthew 8:12: ‘But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth’).
1998 Times Prepare yourself for the usual wailing and gnashing of teeth after tomorrow's retail price index figures.
See also: gnash, teeth
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

gnash your ˈteeth

feel very angry and upset about something, especially because you cannot get what you want: He’ll be gnashing his teeth when he hears that we lost the contract.
The basic meaning of gnash your teeth is to bite or grind them together.
See also: gnash, teeth
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

gnash one's teeth, to

To express one’s anger or frustration. This term, dating from the late sixteenth century, is redundant, since to gnash means “to strike the teeth together.” Today the verb is practically always figurative (no one actually strikes the teeth together) and is never heard except in this cliché. The King James Bible of 1611 has it: “But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12).
See also: gnash, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Almost nowhere amid the gnashing and well-intentioned horror are there any proposals to mitigate risk in the future.
But one thing's for sure, there will be much gnashing of dentures among the blue-rinse brigade at the Bournemouth conference this week while they decide whether Howard's way is the right way.
My only criticisms of the book are minor and probably based on my teeth gnashing that I didn't write it.
I have had it with all this wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Attached at their hips across the front of the stage, the eight dancers (Petronio included) churned and preened and posed and snarled to a rock song by Placebo, their figurative gnashing of teeth suggesting Rodin's Gates of Hell.
I am furthermore driven to tooth gnashing by anyone displaying a pink ribbon on her chest.
Old timers did much weeping and gnashing of teeth about this unfortunate turn of events.
On the downside, with such an unrealistic target of five per cent of screen time in the rest of Canada doomed to failure, once again there will be a gnashing of teeth and wailing about the poor state of Canadian feature-film production.
Sometimes, amid all the sweating and gnashing over college rankings, we all momentarily forget that there are actual people represented in this endless gray drizzle of graduation statistics.
For instance, the scope of color and composition in James Ensor's 1888 "Christ's Entry Into Brussels" will make a powerful impression, but at least half its power derives from Ensor's gnashing disclosure of his own unhappiness with the world.
DOB has been replaced by a twisting, metamorphic, The Thing-ish version with leering grins and gnashing teeth.
Formal mourning gestures in the ancient world included beating the breast and tearing sackcloth garments, wailing, pouring ashes on the head, dishevelling hair, gnashing teeth.
bad seed) the sword to slay, dogs to tear, beasts of the field to devour and destroy, and let the dead bury the dead, for it is written: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth, famine and plague, generations of vipers, locusts and scorpions, fathers shall eat their sons, sons shall eat their fathers, bad seed, strike them, destroy them utterly, carcasses falling like dung on the field, all these things the Lord has spoken: fear the Lord and obey, for it is written."