scrape away at (something)

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scrape away at (something)

To scrub something or some surface vigorously with or as with a rough, sharp, or hard-edged instrument steadily or continuously. I sat there scraping away at the rust for nearly an hour, but it just wouldn't come off! She's up there scraping away at the gutter, trying to clear out all the moss and gunk that has been building up over the last year.
See also: away, scrape
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
Of course there was nothing left for me but to proceed to business, and I began scraping away at a great rate.
"When we noticed that little bluebird scraping away at the top of the sandcastle and the local meteorologists began to project daily thunderstorms, we scrambled to compile and send our documentation to Guinness World Records so we could have the height certified before the castle became any shorter," said Laura Ward, public relations representative for Jarrett's Castle.
AN aptly named comeback album from Britney, who is scratching and scraping away at the charts in a bid to get her car crash career back on track.
"I am just not making enough money here, scraping away at the bottom of the barrel, and I probably should have done this three years ago, had I been cleverer and brave enough."
The procedure involved lifting a large area of the scalp and carefully scraping away at the skull to remove bone and release pressure on the brain.
Inside the tent which protects the site of the cemetery, archaeologists are also carefully brushing down stones, and scraping away at the foundations of what was clearly once a substantial building--a Bernese mansion house.
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