gnaw

verb
\ˈnȯ \
gnawed; gnawing; gnaws

Definition of gnaw 

transitive verb

1a : 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

2a : to be a source of vexation to : plague anxiety always gnawing him

b : to affect like gnawing hunger gnawing her vitals

3 : erode, corrode

intransitive verb

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

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Other Words from gnaw

gnawer \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Prescott: Granite Gardens This little series of loops makes a great introduction to Prescott’s most distinctive feature, the Granite Dells, a massive field of exposed bedrock gnawed by erosion. Roger Naylor, azcentral, "Kid-friendly hikes around Arizona: Hit the trail with your family this summer," 28 June 2018 The bread is thin but dense, its corners lovely to gnaw on. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, "A Menu of Moroccan Tradition, and Generosity, in Brooklyn," 3 May 2018 Members of the loose network often filmed or photographed their hunts, capturing gruesome scenes, including some in Washington that showed hunting dogs gnawing on dead or wounded bears. Author: Evan Bush, Anchorage Daily News, "Over 100 charges filed in probe of Pacific Northwest wildlife poaching ring," 17 May 2018 Members of the loose network often filmed or photographed their hunts, capturing gruesome scenes, including some in Washington that showed hunting dogs gnawing on dead or wounded bears. Evan Bush, The Seattle Times, "‘A demented social club’: Dozens more charges filed in probe of Pacific Northwest wildlife poaching ring," 17 May 2018 The losses that gnawed away at the heart of the culture for years instilled cautious optimism last November at the sight of Hov and Lamar's nominations. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, "Should Hip-Hop Still Take the Grammys Seriously After Snubbing Kendrick Lamar & JAY-Z?," 30 Jan. 2018 Neither were the rats spotted earlier gnawing on the carcass, or a possum seen in the area. Rob O'dell, azcentral, "What dead pigs can teach us about missing bodies in the Arizona desert," 5 July 2018 Members of the loose network often filmed or photographed their hunts, capturing gruesome scenes, including some in Washington that showed hunting dogs gnawing on dead or wounded bears. Author: Evan Bush, Anchorage Daily News, "Over 100 charges filed in probe of Pacific Northwest wildlife poaching ring," 17 May 2018 Members of the loose network often filmed or photographed their hunts, capturing gruesome scenes, including some in Washington that showed hunting dogs gnawing on dead or wounded bears. Evan Bush, The Seattle Times, "‘A demented social club’: Dozens more charges filed in probe of Pacific Northwest wildlife poaching ring," 17 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of gnaw

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for gnaw

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

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Dictionary Entries near gnaw

gnatling

gnatsnap

gnatter

gnaw

gnaw at

gnawingly

gnd

Statistics for gnaw

Last Updated

3 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gnaw

The first known use of gnaw was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for gnaw

gnaw

verb

English Language Learners Definition of gnaw

: to bite or chew (something) repeatedly

: to make (a hole in something) by chewing

gnaw

verb
\ˈnȯ \
gnawed; gnawing

Kids Definition of gnaw

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

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Comments on gnaw

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