transitive verbgnawed, gnawed or Raregnawn, gnaw′ing
- to cut, bite, and wear away bit by bit with the teeth
- to make by gnawing: to gnaw a hole
- to consume; wear away; corrode
- to torment, as by constant pain, fear, etc.; harass
Origin of gnawMiddle English gnawen from Old English gnagen, akin to German nagen (OHG gnagan) from Indo-European an unverified form ghn?gh from base an unverified form ghen-, to gnaw away, rub away from source gnash, gnat
- to bite repeatedly: with on, away, at, etc.
- to produce a biting, consuming, corroding, eroding, tormenting, etc. effect: with on, at, etc.: waves gnawed away at the shore; guilt gnawed at his conscience