Definition of gnaw
1a : to bite or chew on with the teeth; especially : to wear away by persistent biting or nibbling a dog gnawing a boneb : to make by gnawing rats gnawed a hole
2a : to be a source of vexation to : plague anxiety always gnawing himb : to affect like gnawing hunger gnawing her vitals
1 : to bite or nibble persistently gnawing at his underlip
2 : to produce an effect of or as if of gnawing waves gnawing away at the cliffs
gnawerplay \ˈnȯ(-ə)r\ noun
Examples of gnaw in a sentence
The dog was gnawing a bone.
He nervously gnawed on his fingernails.
Rabbits have gnawed at the hedge.
Rabbits had gnawed a hole in the hedge.
Origin and Etymology of gnaw
Middle English gnawen, from Old English gnagan; akin to Old High German gnagan to gnaw
First Known Use: before 12th century
GNAW Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of gnaw for English Language Learners
: to bite or chew (something) repeatedly
: to make (a hole in something) by chewing
GNAW Defined for Kids
Definition of gnaw for Students
: to bite so as to wear away : bite or chew upon The dog gnawed a bone.
Seen and Heard
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