pick away at (something)

pick away at (something)

1. To continue pulling or scratching at something with one's fingertips or fingernails. If you keep picking away at those scabs, that scrape is never going to heal! She sat there picking away at the bottom of her shirt in nervousness.
2. To focus on, scrutinize, or dwell upon every minor fault, problem, or failing of something. My professor spent the whole meeting picking away at my essay instead of offering any constructive advice on how to make it better.
3. To spend a meal eating a small amount of food in tiny bites and without much interest. He didn't say a word during dinner, just sullenly picking away at his food. Why are you picking away at your food like that? Did you eat something earlier and spoil your appetite?
See also: away, pick
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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