gnaw (away) at (someone or something)

(redirected from gnaw away at)

gnaw (away) at (someone or something)

1. To chew on something, often biting off small pieces. The dog is just gnawing away at his new bone, happy as can be.
2. To bother someone or cause them worry or trepidation. His critical comments are really gnawing at me today—I can't stop thinking about them.
See also: gnaw
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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

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
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 ?
This needs sorting, because it will gnaw away at you.
A hacksaw appears to have also been used to gnaw away at locks.
Tempers fray and the four friends are plagued by nightmarish visions that gnaw away at their sanity.
Sharjah: Rodents are a major cause of domestic fires and accidents in Sharjah as they gnaw away at electrical cables, wiring and gas cylinder tubing, said a police forensic expert.
Rouseffs popularity has crumbled as her woes gnaw away at her and her government.
Soon the first potholes form and the jungle begins to gnaw away at the shoulders of the road.
Traditional retail banks need to adopt bold new strategies as they face challenges around regaining trust, legacy issues, regulation and technology, while challenger banks and other new entrants continue to gnaw away at their market share."
Andujar is unlikely to worry Nadal with his serve but will still aim to gnaw away at his compatriot s sagging confidence, which was already weakened by consecutive claycourt losses to man-of-the-moment Novak Djokovic in Madrid and Rome.
It will gnaw away at them just as Geoff Hurst's controversial goal in the 1966 World Cup final has gnawed away at the Germans for 44 years.
That burning sense of injustice will continue to gnaw away at the hearts of all those attending further commemorative services in the decades to come.
If the road's condition is just a ruse by the other side to gnaw away at time until Turkey's EU accession is evaluated, said Michaelides, the government was wrong to make a deal.
"If ever there was a cause in baseball's wheelhouse, it is steroids, the drugs that haven't taken any lives from the clubhouse (yet), but continue to gnaw away at its heart and soul."
But what will gnaw away at him for the rest of the season is that the home draws with West Brom and now West Ham should really have been victories, and the loss of those four points could yet return to haunt him.
Five years later, Samuel has enjoyed the good life and sitting in the lap of luxury, but strange visions gnaw away at him.