gnaw

(redirected from gnawed)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.

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 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

gnaw on (someone or something)

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

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

gnaw at

v.
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

v.
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

v.
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
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.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
The individual fishers or single fisher that gnawed bones in succession spent several minutes gnawing each and were recorded over multiple images.
In Zan's, we found a serious mouse problem, with many food items having been gnawed and contaminated.
A chocolate bar gnawed by rodents at B&M Bargains' Speke warehouse
"His right leg was missing and the other gnawed to the bone.
"Food that had been gnawed by mice, instead of being disposed of, was resealed with tape by staff and put back on sale," he said.
But soon Westgate House will be gnawed away from within by a group of voracious robots eager to do a disapproving public's bidding.
Titles such as Cat is Thirst, Dog is Hungry, and Duck is Dirty, were among the first board books that my children, as toddlers, carried around with them, gnawed on and forced my husband and me to read to them over and over and over again.
Once past the dumb exterior, you are welcomed by a huge mass of blond timber that seems to have been gnawed out of solid wood by a strange termite partnership between Aalto and Gehry, with Antonio Gaudi hovering somewhere overhead.
That was the year of her first show in New York, for which she gnawed a six-hundred-pound block of chocolate and injected herself into the second-wave-feminist artist corps, at once exposing and dissecting cultural appetites.
A holly leaf made of shellacked dough hung just in front of her, and part of the leaf and a few berries had been gnawed off.
It is also possible that once rodents had gnawed and deposited their scent on the rocks, other rodents would be attracted to inspect and gnaw the rocks in turn.
Who hasn't chewed on gummy bears or gnawed on licorice candy?
SIX bars of cooking chocolate from the Somerfield store at Buckley were condemned as unfit for human consumption yesterday after they were found to have been gnawed by rodents - probably rats.
The placing of food waste in plastic garbage bags that are readily gnawed into by the rat population provides ongoing sustenance contributing to their growth and propagation," he said.
the hipbone and half the gnawed shank of a small, unrecognizable animal