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verb \ˈn\

: to bite or chew (something) repeatedly

: to make (a hole in something) by chewing

Full Definition of GNAW

transitive verb
a :  to bite or chew on with the teeth; especially :  to wear away by persistent biting or nibbling <a dog gnawing a bone>
b :  to make by gnawing <rats gnawed a hole>
a :  to be a source of vexation to :  plague <anxiety always gnawing him>
b :  to affect like gnawing <hunger gnawing her vitals>
:  erode, corrode
intransitive verb
:  to bite or nibble persistently <gnawing at his underlip>
:  to produce an effect of or as if of gnawing <waves gnawing away at the cliffs>
gnaw·er \ˈn(-ə)r\ noun

Examples of GNAW

  1. The dog was gnawing a bone.
  2. He nervously gnawed on his fingernails.
  3. Rabbits have gnawed at the hedge.
  4. Rabbits had gnawed a hole in the hedge.

Origin of GNAW

Middle English gnawen, from Old English gnagan; akin to Old High German gnagan to gnaw
First Known Use: before 12th century

Rhymes with GNAW

GNAWING Defined for Kids


verb \ˈn\

Definition of GNAW for Kids

:  to bite so as to wear away :  bite or chew upon <The dog gnawed a bone.>


Next Word in the Dictionary: gnawinglyPrevious Word in the Dictionary: gnatterAll Words Near: gnaw
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