• synonyms


verb (used with object)
  1. to grind or strike (the teeth) together, especially in rage or pain.
  2. to bite with grinding teeth.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to gnash the teeth.
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  1. an act of gnashing.
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Origin of gnash

1490–1500; variant of obsolete gnast, Middle English gnasten; compare Old Norse gnastan gnashing of teeth
Related formsgnash·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for gnashing

grate, crush, clamp, rub, grit

Examples from the Web for gnashing

Contemporary Examples of gnashing

Historical Examples of gnashing

British Dictionary definitions for gnashing


  1. to grind (the teeth) together, as in pain or anger
  2. (tr) to bite or chew as by grinding the teeth
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  1. the act of gnashing the teeth
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Derived Formsgnashingly, adverb

Word Origin for gnash

C15: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse gnastan gnashing of teeth, gnesta to clatter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for gnashing



early 15c., variant of Middle English gnasten "to gnash the teeth" (c.1300), perhaps from Old Norse gnastan "a gnashing," of unknown origin, probably imitative. Cf. German knistern "to crackle." Related: Gnashed; gnashing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper