gnaw (away) at (someone or something)

(redirected from gnawing away at him)

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 ?
Ferguson has been at his most combustible in recent days, his side's continued defensive failings gnawing away at him, his frustration coming out in clashes and spats on and off the field.
But Kiss has yet to break his duck and admits the lack of goals has been gnawing away at him.
The body language from the 26-year-old, his lack of a smile, would suggest there is something gnawing away at him in a season littered with incidents and penalties.
And for someone who has made a habit of getting his fair share of goals at setpieces - he scored six goals during Blues' last promotion- winning season, including three vital ones as the campaign reached its climax - it's gnawing away at him.
IF THE nerves were gnawing away at him inside then Paul Robinson is a better actor than he is a goalkeeper.
I'm gnawing away at him, letting him know that he's not going to have an easy ride.
His need for revenge would fester inside, gnawing away at him like a tumour.
NOW that highly-strung Niclas Fasth has broken a barrier that has been gnawing away at him for years, an inability to win a golf tournament of any consequence, we should see a new-look Swede in action for the rest of the year.
Gnawing away at him was the feeling he and his team-mates had let themselves down at Hampden.
Liverpool Crown Court heard Stewart's conscience had been "gnawing away at him", but his photograph was also featured in the ECHO that day.