gnaw

play
verb \ˈnȯ\

Definition of gnaw

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 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>

  3. 2 a :  to be a source of vexation to :  plague <anxiety always gnawing him> b :  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.

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

gnaw

play
verb \ˈnȯ\

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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