1300–50; Middle English; see gnaw, -ing1

gnawingly, adverb Unabridged


verb (used with object), gnawed, gnawed or gnawn, gnawing.
to bite or chew on, especially persistently.
to wear away or remove by persistent biting or nibbling.
to form or make by so doing: to gnaw a hole through the wall.
to waste or wear away; corrode; erode.
to trouble or torment by constant annoyance, worry, etc.; vex; plague.
verb (used without object), gnawed, gnawed or gnawn, gnawing.
to bite or chew persistently: The spaniel gnawed happily on a bone.
to cause corrosion: The acid gnaws at the metal.
to cause an effect resembling corrosion: Her mistake gnawed at her conscience.

before 1000; Middle English gnawen, Old English gnagen; cognate with German nagen, Old Norse gnāga

gnawable, adjective
gnawer, noun
outgnaw, verb (used with object), outgnawed, outgnawed or outgnawn, outgnawing.
undergnaw, verb (used with object)
ungnawed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
gnaw (nɔː)
vb (when intr, often foll by at or upon) (when intr, often foll by at) , gnaws, gnawing, gnawed, gnawed, gnawn
1.  to bite (at) or chew (upon) constantly so as to wear away little by little
2.  (tr) to form by gnawing: to gnaw a hole
3.  to cause erosion of (something)
4.  to cause constant distress or anxiety (to)
5.  the act or an instance of gnawing
[Old English gnagan; related to Old Norse gnaga, Old High German gnagan]
adj, —n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

O.E. gnagan (pt. *gnog, pp. gnagan), a common Gmc. word (cf. O.S. gnagan, O.N. gnaga, M.Du. knagen, Ger. nagen), probably imitative of gnawing.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
They seem to be gnawing holes through the walls and sneaking in under our
  secondary coop.
The police here work in the face of a gnawing contradiction.
It's gross watching anyone gnawing at great lumps of uncut meat.
On stubby legs they crawl over one another, gnawing on any protruding ear, limb
  or nose.
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