gnaw

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old English gnagan, from Proto-Germanic *gnaganą. Cognate with Dutch knagen, German nagen, Swedish gnaga.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /nɔː/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɔː
  • Homophone: nor (in non-rhotic accent)

Verb[edit]

gnaw (third-person singular simple present gnaws, present participle gnawing, simple past gnawed, past participle gnawed or gnawn)

  1. (transitive) To bite something persistently, especially something tough.
    The dog gnawed the bone until it broke in two.
  2. (intransitive) To produce excessive anxiety or worry.
    Her comment gnawed at me all day and I couldn't think about anything else.
  3. To corrode; to fret away; to waste.

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