- a past participle of gnaw.
- to bite or chew on, especially persistently.
- to wear away or remove by persistent biting or nibbling.
- to form or make by so doing: to gnaw a hole through the wall.
- to waste or wear away; corrode; erode.
- to trouble or torment by constant annoyance, worry, etc.; vex; plague.
- to bite or chew persistently: The spaniel gnawed happily on a bone.
- to cause corrosion: The acid gnaws at the metal.
- to cause an effect resembling corrosion: Her mistake gnawed at her conscience.
Origin of gnaw
Examples from the Web for gnawn
On the east side a strange section of gray lava and ash is gnawn into caves.At Last
Nor could they find a bundle in a handkerchief, which they would have gnawn through speedily.The Open Air
Neither shrink thou at the gnawn tables that await thee; the fates will find a way, and Apollo aid thy call.The Aeneid of Virgil
- (when intr, often foll by at or upon) to bite (at) or chew (upon) constantly so as to wear away little by little
- (tr) to form by gnawingto gnaw a hole
- to cause erosion of (something)
- (when intr, often foll by at) to cause constant distress or anxiety (to)
- the act or an instance of gnawing
Word Origin and History for gnawn
Old English gnagan (past tense *gnog, past participle gnagan) "to gnaw," a common Germanic word (cf. Old Saxon gnagan, Old Norse, Swedish gnaga, Middle Dutch, Dutch knagen, Old High German gnagan, German nagen "to gnaw"), probably imitative of gnawing. Related: Gnawed; gnawing.