From Middle English gnawen, gnaȝen, from Old English gnagan, from Proto-Germanic *gnaganą. Cognate with Dutch knagen, German nagen, Norwegian Bokmål gnage, Norwegian Nynorsk gnaga, Swedish gnaga. Probably from Proto-Indo-European *gʰnēgʰ- (“to gnaw, scratch”)
- (UK) enPR: nô, IPA(key): /nɔː/
- Rhymes: -ɔː
- (US) enPR: nô, IPA(key): /nɔ/
- (cot–caught merger) enPR: nä, IPA(key): /nɑ/
Audio (US) (file)
- Homophone: nor (in non-rhotic accents with the horse-hoarse merger)
- (transitive, intransitive) To bite something persistently, especially something tough.
- The dog gnawed the bone until it broke in two.
- c. 1593, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Richard the Third: […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene iv], line 25:
- Ten thousand men that fishes gnaw'd upon
- (intransitive) To produce excessive anxiety or worry.
- Her comment gnawed at me all day and I couldn't think about anything else.
- To corrode; to fret away; to waste.
gnaw (plural gnaws)
- the act of gnawing
- have a gnaw of a bone
- Soft mutation of .
|Middle Welsh mutation|
|knaw||gnaw||knaw / chnaw
pronounced with /ŋ̥-/
|Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every|
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.