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Related to gnaw: gnaw away

gnaw (at) (someone's) vitals

To greatly or deeply trouble someone; to affect in someone an intense feeling of anguish or despair. Seeing the suffering of so many people overseas gnawed at her vitals day and night, so she decided to join the Red Cross so she could finally help in some way.
See also: gnaw

gnaw (away) at someone

Fig. to worry someone; to create constant anxiety in someone. The thought of catching some horrible disease gnawed away at her. A lot of guilt gnawed at him day and night.
See also: gnaw

gnaw (away) at someone or something

Lit. to chew at someone or something. I hear a mouse gnawing away at the wall. The mosquitoes are gnawing at me something awful.
See also: gnaw

gnaw on something

to chew on something. (Usually said of an animal.) The puppy has been gnawing on my slippers! This slipper has been gnawed on!
See also: gnaw, on

gnaw at

1. To bite or chew on something, removing small pieces of it a bit at a time: The mice gnawed at the corner of the box until they had made a small hole in it.
2. To cause someone or something to have or feel persistent discomfort, anxiety, or guilt: His harsh criticism gnawed at me the rest of the day. Hunger was gnawing at my stomach.
See also: gnaw

gnaw away

1. To bite or chew something a bit at a time: The fox gnawed the tough meat away first, and then bit into the bone.
2. To bite or chew on something repeatedly in order to grind it down or to remove small pieces from it a bit at a time: The kids gnawed away at the cobs of fresh corn. That dog will gnaw away at that bone until it gets to the marrow inside.
3. To cause someone or something to have or feel persistent discomfort, anxiety, or guilt: Dark thoughts gnawed away at my mind.
See also: away, gnaw

gnaw on

1. To bite or chew on something, either without eating it or removing small pieces of it a bit at a time: The dog has been gnawing on that bone for days.
2. To cause someone or something to have or feel persistent discomfort, anxiety, or guilt: Unpleasant dreams gnawed on me all night and I couldn't sleep.
See also: gnaw, on
References in periodicals archive ?
Rodents may gnaw on rocks for various reasons, including need for minerals, need to wear down the teeth, or need to release stress.
More important, opportunities to vent feelings and obtain encouragement in social support groups probably lessen the sense of isolation and anxiety regarding death that gnaw at many cancer patients, writes David Spiegel, a psychiatrist at Stanford University School of Medicine, in an accompanying comment.
Gnaw marks consistent with carnivore chewing appear on several parts of the Neandertal skull, White and Toth point out.
If Neandertals had hollowed out the bone and fashioned holes in it, animals would not have bothered to gnaw it, she says.
Trustee Steve Fox said naming Sileo to watch over the CEO would cause ``gridlock'' at the hospital, and accused Rice and Farrukh of wanting to ``appoint a pit bull to gnaw at the rest of us.
Chemical pollutants combined with unusually low temperatures high in the atmosphere to gnaw a record-breaking hole in Earth's protective ozone layer this year, according to measurements made in the frigid skies over Antarctica.
It says the work - titled Gnaw - "provokes the comparison of dark and light, dirty and clean, desire and denial".
Children gnaw and drool on a giant block of chocolate reminiscent of Janine Antoni's sculptures, or prance nude with a childlike eroticism a la Sally Mann.
Female scavengers gnaw at their own limbs in a demented "Feast of Harpies.
Neither the jaws of the rocks with their purple gums nor the snide laughter of the holly that gnaws them and would gladly gnaw anything else can faze the bicycle thief; those slabs of rock are great springboards.
Paleontologists contend the ancient gnaw marks are among the strongest evidence yet that some dinosaurs indeed were cannibals.
The sonic booms of Nato jets, the explosions and air raid sirens made him gnaw a paw off.
The mammals are most likely multituberculates, an extinct order of archaic mammals that resemble rodents and had paired upper and lower incisors - which they used to gnaw at the bones for minerals rather than for meat.
Previously, all of the gnaw marks on bones that have positively identified T.
The title comes from a cryptic yet provocative offhand comment--"Liz Taylor was snakebit, but she fought back"--that, like the play as a whole, leaves you with something juicy to gnaw on.