English Edit

Etymology Edit

From Middle English gnawen, gnaȝen, from Old English gnagan, from Proto-Germanic *gnaganą. Cognate with Dutch knagen, German nagen, Norwegian Bokmål gnage, Norwegian Nynorsk gnaga, Swedish gnaga. Probably from Proto-Indo-European *gʰnēgʰ- (to gnaw, scratch).

Pronunciation Edit

Verb Edit

gnaw (third-person singular simple present gnaws, present participle gnawing, simple past gnawed or (dialectal) gnew, past participle gnawed or (archaic) gnawn)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To bite something persistently, especially something tough.
    The dog gnawed the bone until it broke in two.
  2. (intransitive) To produce excessive anxiety or worry.
    Her comment gnawed at me all day and I couldn't think about anything else.
  3. To corrode; to fret away; to waste.

Derived terms Edit

Related terms Edit

Translations Edit

Noun Edit

gnaw (plural gnaws)

  1. the act of gnawing
    have a gnaw of a bone

Anagrams Edit

Middle Welsh Edit

Pronunciation Edit

Noun Edit


  1. Soft mutation of knaw.

Mutation Edit

Middle Welsh mutation
Radical Soft Nasal Aspirate
knaw gnaw knaw / chnaw
pronounced with /ŋ̊-/
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.