gnaw

play
verb \ˈnȯ\

Definition of gnaw

  1. transitive verb
  2. 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

  3. 2a :  to be a source of vexation to :  plague anxiety always gnawing himb :  to affect like gnawing hunger gnawing her vitals

  4. 3 :  erode, corrode

  5. intransitive verb
  6. 1 :  to bite or nibble persistently gnawing at his underlip

  7. 2 :  to produce an effect of or as if of gnawing waves gnawing away at the cliffs

gnawer

play \ˈnȯ(-ə)r\ noun

Examples of gnaw in a Sentence

  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.

Recent Examples of gnaw from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gnaw'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of gnaw

Middle English gnawen, from Old English gnagan; akin to Old High German gnagan to gnaw



GNAW Defined for English Language Learners

gnaw

play
verb

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

gnaw

play
verb \ˈnȯ\

Definition of gnaw for Students

gnawed

;

gnawing

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



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