- 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
Related Words for gnawednibble, eat, chomp, annoy, bedevil, nag, irritate, haunt, crunch, erode, consume, munch, gum, corrode, devour, masticate, wear, champ, chaw, distress
Examples from the Web for gnawed
Contemporary Examples of gnawed
Gellhorn was the better journalist and war correspondent, a fact that gnawed at Hemingway.The Wonderful ‘Hemingway & Gellhorn:’ Nicole Kidman, Clive Owen, and the HBO Movie
May 28, 2012
Even at the most courageous and daring moments of his service in the desert, Lawrence was gnawed by these doubts.What We Need to Learn From T.E. Lawrence
November 15, 2010
Historical Examples of gnawed
He wears the look of one who is gnawed with envy, and he heaves the sigh of despair.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
Then, just as we thought we had it, the wolf water came and gnawed the trail in two.The Trail Book
In the background the cabby loitered, gnawed by insatiable curiosity.The Black Bag
Louis Joseph Vance
She sighed and struggled with thoughts and pencil, which she gnawed at both ends.David Dunne
Belle Kanaris Maniates
Rajcik finished the computation he was working on and gnawed thoughtfully at his pencil.Death Wish
- (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 for gnaw
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.