pick away at (one)

pick away at (one)

1. To continually nag, hassle, or berate someone; to be overly critical of or negative about someone. I don't understand why she stays with him, when all he does is pick away at her all the time. She makes herself feel important by picking away at the younger employees. I wish the principal wouldn't pick away at the teachers like that. They're all just doing they're best!
2. To undermine, weaken, or erode something continually over time. This job just picks away at your self-esteem over the years. The army has been picking away at the rebels' defenses day by day.
See also: away, pick
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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