English version

chip away at something

From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishchip away at something phrasal verbEFFECTIVEto gradually make something less effective or destroy it Writers such as Voltaire and Diderot were chipping away at the foundations of society. Fears about the future chipped away at her sense of well-being. chip→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpus
chip away at From the breakers beyond, nightmare thoughts chipped away at her security.The dismantling began on the night of November 9 as hundreds of Berliners chipped away at some of the more decorative chunks.Oystercatchers may wedge the shells into a crevice and chip away at the lip.The best rewriting method in this case is the simplest: by correcting one problem you chip away at the others.Meanwhile, his defense lawyers chipped away at the prosecution's arguments.In like manner, but without the risk, Bloomsbury chipped away at the standards inherited from Victorians.In therapy, we chip away at this, bit by bit.For several weeks now he had been chipping away at this problem of finding Elsie, slowly nagging it into submission.
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Verb table
chip
Simple Form
Present
I, you, we, theychip
he, she, itchips
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Past
I, you, he, she, it, we, theychipped
Present perfect
I, you, we, theyhave chipped
he, she, ithas chipped
Past perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theyhad chipped
Future
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill chip
Future perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill have chipped
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Continuous Form
Present
Iam chipping
he, she, itis chipping
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you, we, theyare chipping
Past
I, he, she, itwas chipping
you, we, theywere chipping
Present perfect
I, you, we, theyhave been chipping
he, she, ithas been chipping
Past perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theyhad been chipping
Future
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill be chipping
Future perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill have been chipping
> View Less