Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Language: Old English
Origin: gnagan

gnaw

verb
     
gnaw [intransitive,transitive always + adverb/preposition]
to keep biting something hard [= chew]:
Dexter gnawed his pen thoughtfully.
A rat had gnawed a hole in the box.
gnaw at/on
The puppy was gnawing on a bone.

gnaw (away) at somebody/something

phrasal verb
to make someone feel worried or frightened, over a period of time:
Something was gnawing at the back of his mind.
Doubt was gnawing away at her confidence.

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