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[nash] /næʃ/
verb (used with object)
to grind or strike (the teeth) together, especially in rage or pain.
to bite with grinding teeth.
verb (used without object)
to gnash the teeth.
an act of gnashing.
Origin of gnash
1490-1500; variant of obsolete gnast, Middle English gnasten; compare Old Norse gnastan gnashing of teeth
Related forms
gnashingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for gnashing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He sat down upon an overturned trough, and covered his face with his hands, gnashing his teeth.

    Father Brighthopes John Townsend Trowbridge
  • He looked back and there was a corpse running and gnashing its teeth.

    Russian Fairy Tales W. R. S. Ralston
  • She was there suffering in silence, and I was gnashing my teeth.

    Children of the Soil Henryk Sienkiewicz
  • The English came on, four to one, gnashing their teeth like devils of the pit.

    Fort Amity Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • Small and terrible it rose again in the stillness of the night, the sound of gnashing teeth.

    Incredible Adventures Algernon Blackwood
  • Well, to see you standing there cursing and gnashing your teeth while you brush your hair!

    A Sheaf of Corn Mary E. Mann
  • Instantly there was wailing and gnashing of teeth in the camp.

    The Innocents Abroad Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • gnashing his teeth, he tried to carry the eternal subtleties by violence.

    The Longest Journey E. M. Forster
  • Maclaren stood before her with clenched hands and gnashing teeth.

    Jewel Mysteries Max Pemberton
British Dictionary definitions for gnashing


to grind (the teeth) together, as in pain or anger
(transitive) to bite or chew as by grinding the teeth
the act of gnashing the teeth
Derived Forms
gnashingly, adverb
Word Origin
C15: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse gnastan gnashing of teeth, gnesta to clatter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gnashing



early 15c., variant of Middle English gnasten "to gnash the teeth" (c.1300), perhaps from Old Norse gnastan "a gnashing," of unknown origin, probably imitative. Cf. German knistern "to crackle." Related: Gnashed; gnashing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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gnashing in the Bible

Heb. harak, meaning "to grate the teeth", (Job 16:9; Ps. 112:10; Lam. 2:16), denotes rage or sorrow. (See also Acts 7:54; Mark 9:18.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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