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Gnaw   /nɔ/   Listen
Gnaw

verb
(past gnawed; past part. gnawn; pres. part. gnawing)
1.
Bite or chew on with the teeth.
2.
Become ground down or deteriorate.  Synonyms: eat at, erode, gnaw at, wear away.



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"Gnaw" Quotes from Famous Books



... know very little of the Bar-O entanglements and complications. It's an old story. Grandaddy knows all about it but he doesn't talk. There are few facts and many rumors. For three generations it's been a sort of a gnaw-bone, to be dug up and chewed on when there's nothing else. It's a musty old tradition, a sort of a remnant of the old days, that present day newsmongers use as a yardstick for comparisons. If a modern domestic complication breaks out, the current ...
— David Lannarck, Midget - An Adventure Story • George S. Harney

... dragged in with the flesh still on them, for all the bones are in their natural position. In other caves, the thorax and the vertebrae of the skeletons were missing; the cave-man, having despatched his victim, bad evidently taken only the more succulent parts into his retreat. Beasts of prey merely gnaw the comparatively tender and spongy tops of the bones, leaving the hard, compact parts untouched. In the caves that were inhabited by man, however, we find the apophyses neglected, whilst the diaphyses are split open. We cannot, therefore, make any mistake on this point, or ...
— Manners and Monuments of Prehistoric Peoples • The Marquis de Nadaillac

... d'Andreghen and his men that night, and in the tumult to steal Hugues away; whereafter, as Adhelmar pointed out, Hugues might readily take ship for England, and leave the marshal to blaspheme Fortune in Normandy, and the French King to gnaw at his chains in Bordeaux, while Hugues toasts his shins in comfort at London. Adhelmar admitted that the plan was a mad one, but added, reasonably enough, that needs must when the devil drives. And so firm ...
— The Line of Love - Dizain des Mariages • James Branch Cabell

... him emperor unless he makes himself," said Galen. "You will know tonight. We lack a hero, Sextus. All conspirators resemble rats that gnaw and run, until one rat at last discovers himself Caesar of the herd by accident. Caius Julius Caesar was a hero. He was one mind bold and above and aloof. He saw. He considered. He took. His murderers were all conspirators, who ran like rats and turned on one another. So are we! Can you imagine ...
— Caesar Dies • Talbot Mundy

... was more or less at home there. At any rate Elmer was pleased to see him sit up on his haunches and begin to gnaw at a stray ...
— Pathfinder - or, The Missing Tenderfoot • Alan Douglas

... short". To live like an animal is to rely upon one's own quite naked equipment and efforts, and not to mind getting wet or cold or scratching one's bare legs in the underbrush. One would have to eat his roots and seeds quite raw, and gnaw a bird as a cat does. To get the feel of uncivilized life, let us recall how savages with the comparatively advanced degree of culture reached by our native Indian tribes may fall to when really hungry. In the journal ...
— The Mind in the Making - The Relation of Intelligence to Social Reform • James Harvey Robinson

... the dog, and wanted to be kind to him; so, when their mother told them this, they got out of the cart, and Zip was unharnessed and given some cold water to drink and a nice bone on which to gnaw. ...
— Six Little Bunkers at Grandma Bell's • Laura Lee Hope

... her brains out on the stones, He gnaw'd her sinews, crack'd her bones; He munch'd her heart, he quaff'd her gore, And up her lights and ...
— Translations of German Poetry in American Magazines 1741-1810 • Edward Ziegler Davis

... to save herself the bother of lagging useless material home to her burrow. She was so near that the Child could have touched her by reaching out his hand. But she took no more notice of him than if he had been a rotten stump. Less, in fact, for she might have tried to gnaw into him if he had been a rotten stump, in the hope of ...
— Children of the Wild • Charles G. D. Roberts

... crenated edges (see Figure 289 a and b), to the modern Iguanas which now frequent the tropical woods of America and the West Indies, exhibit many important differences. It appears that they have often been worn by the process of mastication; whereas the existing herbivorous reptiles clip and gnaw off the vegetable productions on which they feed, but do not chew them. Their teeth frequently present an appearance of having been chipped off, but never, like the fossil teeth of the Iguanodon, have ...
— The Student's Elements of Geology • Sir Charles Lyell

... young Potentate o'Wales, I tell your highness fairly, Down Pleasure's stream, wi' swelling sails, I'm tauld ye're driving rarely; But some day ye may gnaw your nails, An' curse your folly sairly, That e'er ye brak Diana's pales, Or rattl'd dice wi' Charlie By night ...
— Poems And Songs Of Robert Burns • Robert Burns

... the man, cutting off large pieces of the pudding and passing it across the counter to the boys who took it, without speaking, and began to gnaw at it immediately. ...
— Changing Winds - A Novel • St. John G. Ervine

... yielded, rescue or no rescue, and of rescue there is no hope at all. The devil fights for the English, who will soon be swarming over the Loire, and that King of Bourges of ours will have to flee, and gnaw horse's fodder, oats and barley, with your friends ...
— A Monk of Fife • Andrew Lang

... deeper; into the forest; but I could not regain my former elasticity of mind. I found cheerfulness to be like life itself—not to be created by any argument. Afterwards I learned, that the best way to manage some kinds of pain fill thoughts, is to dare them to do their worst; to let them lie and gnaw at your heart till they are tired; and you find you still have a residue of life they cannot kill. So, better and worse, I went on, till I came to a little clearing in the forest. In the middle of this clearing stood a long, low hut, ...
— Phantastes - A Faerie Romance for Men and Women • George MacDonald

... to make a space, and to gnaw the rock; over and under me were the Jotun's ways: thus I my head ...
— The Elder Eddas of Saemund Sigfusson; and the Younger Eddas of Snorre Sturleson • Saemund Sigfusson and Snorre Sturleson

... at noon-day prepared to fight till the sun went down, or life went out. The smaller red champion had fastened himself like a vice to his adversary's front, and through all the tumblings on that field never for an instant ceased to gnaw at one of his feelers near the root, having already caused the other to go by the board; while the stronger black one dashed him from side to side, and, as I saw on looking nearer, had already divested him of several of his ...
— Short Stories and Selections for Use in the Secondary Schools • Emilie Kip Baker

... punishment that hath swallowed him up that has lost himself. Here will be no forgetfulness; yet nothing shall be thought on but that which will wound and kill; here will be no time, cause, or means for diversion; all will stick and gnaw like a viper. Now the memory will go out to where sin was heretofore committed, it will also go out to the word that did forbid it. The understanding also, and the judgment too, will now consider of the pretended necessity that the man had to break the commandments ...
— The Works of John Bunyan • John Bunyan

... if he had found any, he would have gathered some dead wood, made a fire in the ditch, and have had a capital supper off the warm, round vegetables, which he would first of all have held burning hot, in his cold hands. But it was too late in the year, and he would have to gnaw a raw beetroot, as he had done the day before, which he picked up in ...
— The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Volume II (of 8) • Guy de Maupassant

... husband. Now, I do love her too; Not out of absolute lust,—though, peradventure, I stand accountant for as great a sin,— But partly led to diet my revenge, For that I do suspect the lusty Moor Hath leap'd into my seat: the thought whereof Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards; And nothing can or shall content my soul Till I am even'd with him, wife for wife; Or, failing so, yet that I put the Moor At least into a jealousy so strong That judgement cannot cure. Which thing to do,— If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trash For his quick hunting, stand ...
— Othello, the Moor of Venice • William Shakespeare

... Stanton would gnaw his lip with envy at these interviews and wonder how Van Berg brought them about so easily, but found he could not secure them, save in the immediate presence of others. Thus it came about that Van Berg practically enjoyed much more of Miss Burton's society than the one who ...
— A Face Illumined • E. P. Roe

... jagged as the teeth of a horse-comb. But the bullock went on at his old pace: every little while they went a little mile, and jolted so that they nearly tumbled off. The serpent, however, managed to gnaw his way through the wood, and then flew after them again. Then cried the little Tsar, "Alas! bullock, it begins to burn again. Thou wilt perish, and we shall perish also!"—Then said the bullock, "Look into my right ear, and pull out the brush thou dost ...
— Cossack Fairy Tales and Folk Tales • Anonymous

... rising wildly from his seat, he gesticulated violently and fixed his eyes on something as though desirous of catching it: his lips moving as though desirous of uttering some long-forgotten word, but remaining speechless. Fury would take possession of him: he would gnaw and bite his hands like a man half crazy, and in his vexation would tear out his hair by the handful, until, calming down, he would relapse into forgetfulness, as it were, and then would again strive to recall the past and be again seized with ...
— Taras Bulba and Other Tales • Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol

... wife are mated well, In harmony together dwell, Are faithful to each other, The streams of bliss flow constantly What bliss of angels is on high From hence may we discover; No storm, No worm Can destroy it, Can e'er gnaw it, What God giveth To the pair that ...
— Paul Gerhardt's Spiritual Songs - Translated by John Kelly • Paul Gerhardt

... but I'll explain. When you're as old as I am, young man, you'll experience it too. There are few perfectly sound trees in the forest, few horses without a blemish, few swords without a stain, and scarcely a man who has passed his fortieth year that has not a worm in his breast. Some gnaw slightly, others torture with sharp fangs, and mine—mine.—Do you want to cast a glance ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... sturdy, restive shoulders the rheumatism snarled and clawed like some utterly frenzied animal trying to gnaw-gnaw-gnaw its way out. Along the tortured hollow of his back a red-hot plaster fumed and mulled and sucked at the pain like a hideously poisoned fang trying to gnaw-gnaw-gnaw its way in. Worse than this; every four or five minutes an agony as miserably comic as a ...
— Molly Make-Believe • Eleanor Hallowell Abbott

... comforting society of her mate; but Jan did not miss her a scrap. At present there was not an ounce of sentiment in his composition. He was kept warm, he lay snugly soft, and his stomach was generally full. He had great gristly bones to gnaw and play with, and Betty Murdoch, with a little solid-rubber ball, played with him also by the hour together. Beyond these things Jan had no thought or desire at present. He grew fast, and enjoyed every minute of ...
— Jan - A Dog and a Romance • A. J. Dawson

... not rightly train the will may be giving tools to a burglar or weapons to a mad man. The anarchism in Chicago, but for the education it controls, would have been like Bunyan's giants—able only to gnaw its nails in malice and have fits in sunshiny weather. But the American Missionary Association understands this thoroughly. In that copy of the year's review which Dr. Strieby sent me, the report of the ...
— American Missionary, Volume 43, No. 12, December, 1889 • Various

... called the masque at my house where first the King did see her. It was I that advised her how to bear herself. And what gratitude has been shown me? I have been sent to sequester myself in my see; I have been set to gnaw my fingers as they had been old bones thrown to a dog. Truly, no juicy meats have been my share. Yet it was I set this woman where ...
— The Fifth Queen Crowned • Ford Madox Ford

... quite. She is old-fashioned and I shock her. As for other women, there isn't one anywhere to whom I would say a word. Only think how a girl such as I am is placed; or indeed any girl. You, if you see a woman that you fancy, can pursue her, can win her and triumph, or lose her and gnaw your heart;—at any rate you can do something. You can tell her that you love her; can tell her so again and again even though she should scorn you. You can set yourself about the business you have taken in hand and can work hard at it. What can ...
— The Duke's Children • Anthony Trollope

... so. Do you forget the angels who lost heaven for the daughters of men? Do you forget Helen, and the fair women who made mischief and set nations by the ears before Helen was born? If jealousies that gnaw men's hearts out of their bodies,—if pangs that waste men to shadows and drive them into raving madness or moping melancholy,—if assassination and suicide are dreadful possibilities, then there is always something frightful about a lovely young woman.—I love to look at ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. IV, No. 22, Aug., 1859 • Various

... had already come to Stillwater when many a sharp-faced little urchin—as dear to the warm, deep bosom that had nursed it as though it were a crown prince—would not have had a crust to gnaw if Margaret Slocum had not joined the strikers. Sometimes her heart drooped on the way home from these errands, upon seeing how little of the misery she could ward off. On her rounds there was one cottage in a squalid lane where the children asked for bread in Italian. She never omitted ...
— The Stillwater Tragedy • Thomas Bailey Aldrich

... the raspberry bushes, then looked at me and said, "Fetch it." I knew quite well what he meant, and ran joyfully after it. I soon found it by the strong smell, but the queerest thing happened when I got it in my mouth. I began to gnaw it and play with it, and when Ned called out, "fetch it," I dropped it and ran toward him. I was not obstinate, ...
— Beautiful Joe • Marshall Saunders

... Civilization, signifying increased human power, is not responsible. But human greed,—blind, insatiable human greed,—shallow cunning; the basest, stuff-grabbing, nut-gathering, selfish instincts, these have done this work! The rats know too much to gnaw through the sides of the ship that carries them; but these so-called wise men of the world have eaten away the walls of society in a thousand places, to the thinness of tissue-paper, and the great ocean is about to pour in at every ...
— Caesar's Column • Ignatius Donnelly

... long as they stayed there they might, perhaps, get supplies of provisions with tolerable regularity. "But if you're over the water, my lad," said the old fellow with the can, picking his teeth with a twig, "and have got to get your victuals by ship; by George, you may have to eat grass, or gnaw boughs like a horse." ...
— After London - Wild England • Richard Jefferies

... bad been handicapped but little by his splinted leg; but having eaten he lay down and commenced to gnaw at the bandage. I was sitting some little distance away devouring shellfish, of which, by the way, ...
— Pellucidar • Edgar Rice Burroughs

... means a chase of the wild pig. Equally eager are they to get into the room at night, or at any time when the owner has left them outside. Doors are cleverly opened by them, but when securely locked the dogs sometimes, in their impatience, gnaw holes in the lower part of the door which look like the work of rodents, though none that I saw was large enough to admit a canine of their size. One day a big live pig was brought in from the utan over the shoulder of a strong man, its legs tied together, ...
— Through Central Borneo: - An Account of Two Years' Travel in the Land of Head-Hunters - Between the Years 1913 and 1917 • Carl Lumholtz

... progressing before he started off. A fire had already been started, and the cheery flames did much toward dispelling the feeling of gloom that had begun to gnaw at their hearts. There is nothing in the world better calculated to dissipate worry and liven things up than a genuine camp-fire. It seems to dissipate doubt, give the heart something to grip, and in every way make ...
— Afloat on the Flood • Lawrence J. Leslie

... tried to nibble at some of the green corn stalks, but he did not like the taste of them. Perhaps he had not yet learned to like them, for I have seen older pigs eat corn stalks. And pigs are very fond of the yellow corn itself. They love to gnaw it off the cob, and chew it, ...
— Squinty the Comical Pig - His Many Adventures • Richard Barnum

... strangest cries that ever fell from human lips came from his. The mouse had found once more the dried hide-flesh of which the snowshoe webs were made. It had found babiche. And it had begun TO GNAW! ...
— Back to God's Country and Other Stories • James Oliver Curwood

... "Oh, gnaw them out of a tree!" cried Mr. Pertell, who was much disturbed and nervous. "Don't you see that fence?" he cried, pointing to one not far off. "Get some rails from that. And then get ...
— The Moving Picture Girls Snowbound - Or, The Proof on the Film • Laura Lee Hope

... had disappeared, but still there remained a faint, chaste glow above the dark line of hills. An unseen Hand had sown the sky thickly with stars, and more fell to their appointed places as the moments passed. A bull-frog boomed out his guttural note, and Fido began to whine and gnaw at the rail just below my feet. He was getting hungry, and I acquiesced to his wordless plea to go home. Night had now come, and the air was chilly, so I buttoned my coat close up to my chin, and moved briskly. We were some ...
— The Love Story of Abner Stone • Edwin Carlile Litsey

... distance from the house; in days gone by it had been a stable, and had a double loft over it that was only to be reached by a ladder in the last stage of dilapidation. Bunty scrambled up, sat down in an unhappy little heap among some straw, and began thoughtfully to gnaw an apple. ...
— Seven Little Australians • Ethel Sybil Turner

... are apt to be busy and mischievous infesters of libraries. They are extremely fond of paste, and being in a chronic state of hunger, they watch opportunities of getting at any library receptacle of it. They will gnaw any fresh binding, whether of cloth, board, or leather, to get at the coveted food. They will also gnaw some books, and even pamphlets, without any apparent temptation of a succulent nature. A good library cat or a series ...
— A Book for All Readers • Ainsworth Rand Spofford

... Black Cat to climb a tree, and when he needed help to call out for him. Night coming on, water began to rise about the base of the tree, and the Giant Beaver came and began to gnaw at its base. The friendly ants[16] tried to keep the tree upright, but the water continued to rise and the Beaver kept on gnawing. Then the Black Cat in his sore dilemma called out, "Grandpa, come!" The grandfather responded, "I am coming; wait ...
— Contribution to Passamaquoddy Folk-Lore • J. Walter Fewkes

... little further, and she met a rat. So she said: "Rat! rat! gnaw rope; rope won't hang butcher; butcher won't kill ox; ox won't drink water; water won't quench fire; fire won't burn stick; stick won't beat dog; dog won't bite pig; piggy won't get over the stile; and I shan't get home tonight." But ...
— Types of Children's Literature • Edited by Walter Barnes

... further, and she met a rat. So she said, "Rat! rat! gnaw rope; rope won't hang butcher; butcher won't kill ox; ox won't drink water; water won't quench fire; fire won't burn stick; stick won't beat dog; dog won't bite pig; pig won't get over the stile; and I shan't get home till midnight." ...
— English Fairy Tales • Flora Annie Steel

... my brain, beginning, as I may say, to gnaw uncertainly. I went to my room for a few minutes to collect myself, and then ...
— The Galaxy - Vol. 23, No. 1 • Various

... gives us a rubber ring, it has a bad taste; or an ivory one, it is too hard and hurts us. But we gnaw and gnaw, and fancy the new pain a little easier to bear than the old. Probably it is; probably the tooth gets through a little quicker for the days and nights of gnawing. But what a picture of patient misery is a baby with its rubber ring! Really one sees sometimes in ...
— Bits About Home Matters • Helen Hunt Jackson

... an' asleep, an' I'll tell you all about it. Stray lamb! I should say as much! A little white corset-lamb, used to eat out o' your hand, with a blue ribbon round its neck. Goin' to be sent out to her death—or worse, by a sharp-fangled wolf of a boardin'-house keeper, who'd gnaw the skin off'n your bones, an' then crack the bones to get at the marrer, if you give her the chanct. I'll tell you ...
— Martha By-the-Day • Julie M. Lippmann

... continual hunger in them? The Senses have overcharged their stomachs already, and you, sirrah, serve them up a fresh appetite with every new dish. They had burst their guts if thou hadst stayed but a thought longer. Begone, or I'll set thee away; begone, ye gnaw-bone, raw-bone ...
— A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Vol. IX • Various

... wretch—to love where he should not, to hazard the world's esteem, to grieve his wife, and to dishonour his name! And yet, I wonder, is he happier in his sinful indulgence than if he had played a Roman part, or, like the Spartan lad we read of, had let the wild-beast passion gnaw his heart out, and yet made no sign? To suffer and die, that is virtue, I take it, Mr. Evelyn; and you Christian sages assure us that virtue is happiness. ...
— London Pride - Or When the World Was Younger • M. E. Braddon

... which, by other observations I have made, I ghess to contain it, and become, as it were a womb to it, so long, till it be fit and prepar'd to be translated into another state, at what time, like (what they say of) Vipers, they gnaw their way through the womb that bred them; divers of these kinds I have met with upon Goosberry leaves, Rose-tree leaves, Willow leaves, ...
— Micrographia • Robert Hooke

... The tokens of an overwearied spirit, Strained past endurance, he had spared her still, At any cost of silence. What is such love To mine, that would outrival Roman heroes— Watch mine arm crisp and shrivel in quick flame, Or set a lynx to gnaw my heart away, To save her from a needle-prick of pain, Ay, or to please her? At their worth she rates Her wooers—light as all-embracing air Or universal sunshine. Luca, go And tell Fiametta—rather, bid the lass Hither herself. [Exit Luca.] He comes to ...
— The Poems of Emma Lazarus - Vol. I (of II.), Narrative, Lyric, and Dramatic • Emma Lazarus

... and Prue and Agatha Are thick with Mig and Joan! They bite their threads and shake their heads And gnaw my name like ...
— A Few Figs from Thistles • Edna St. Vincent Millay

... thick unwholesome fluid. The way their small sharp bones projected from under the wasted flesh spoke more eloquently than could any words. The sight of them made one's heart ache, while a constant intolerable pain seemed to gnaw one's very soul. ...
— Creatures That Once Were Men • Maxim Gorky

... I may not say - For not Mimosa's tender tree Shrinks sooner from the touch than he - In merry chorus well combined, With laughter drowned the whistling wind. Mirth was within; and Care without Might gnaw her nails to hear our shout. Not but amid the buxom scene Some grave discourse might intervene - Of the good horse that bore him best, His shoulder, hoof, and arching crest: For, like mad Tom's, our chiefest care, Was horse ...
— Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field • Walter Scott

... A tinker and a tailor, Had once a doubtful strife, sir, To make a maid a wife, sir, Whose name was buxom Joan. For now the time was ended, When she no more intended To lick her lips at men, sir, And gnaw the sheets in vain, sir, And ...
— Love for Love • William Congreve

... the garden neighborhood, feed at eventide in flocks upon the bloody berries of the sumac; and the soft-eyed pigeons dispute possession of the feast. The squirrels chatter at sunrise, and gnaw off the full-grown burrs of the chestnuts. The lazy blackbirds skip after the loitering cow, watchful of the crickets that her slow steps start to danger. The crows in companies caw aloft, and hang high over ...
— Dream Life - A Fable Of The Seasons • Donald G. Mitchell

... "He'll gnaw right through the house, he'll chew right through the roof. He'll get in. He has smelled that big ...
— The Strange Adventures of Mr. Middleton • Wardon Allan Curtis

... for they like thy flesh, heo wulleth freten thin fule hold. they will devour thy foul carcase, theo hwule heo hit findeth. 261 as long as they find it; thonne hit al bith agon. when it is all gone heo wulleth gnawen thin bon. they will gnaw thy bone; theo orlease wurmes. those vile worms, heo windeth on thin armes. 265 they wind on thy arms, heo breketh thine breoste. they break up thy breast, and borieth the ofer al. and perforate thee all ...
— The Departing Soul's Address to the Body • Anonymous

... great genius introduced the fiends of Famine, Slaughter, and Fire, proclaiming that they had received their commission from One whose name was formed of four letters, and promising to give their employer ample proofs of gratitude. Famine would gnaw the multitude till they should rise up against him in madness. The demon of slaughter would impel them to tear him from limb to limb. But Fire boasted that she alone could reward him as he deserved, and that she would cling round him to all eternity. By the French press and the French tribune ...
— The Miscellaneous Writings and Speeches of Lord Macaulay, Vol. 3. (of 4) • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... squeak, my children, Nor gnaw the smoke-house door: The owl-queen then will love us And send her birds ...
— General William Booth enters into Heaven and other Poems • Vachel Lindsay

... Folks may eat Cockles or Frogs, or may gnaw upon Onions or Leeks. The middle Sort of People will make some Abatement in their usual Provision; and though the Rich do make it an Occasion of living deliciously, they ought to impute that to their Gluttony, and not blame ...
— Colloquies of Erasmus, Volume I. • Erasmus

... after this another vision saw, In France, at Aix, in his Chapelle once more, That his right arm an evil bear did gnaw; Out of Ardennes he saw a leopard stalk, His body dear did savagely assault; But then there dashed a harrier from the hall, Leaping in the air he sped to Charles call, First the right ear of that grim ...
— The Song of Roland • Anonymous

... Ottoman Empire the domains which had been occupied. His Grand Vizier, Safikuli Khan, is advancing with a large army against the son of Kueprili, and the darkness of defeat threatens to obscure the sun-like radiance of the Ottoman arms. Most puissant Padishah! suffer not the tooth of disaster to gnaw away at thy glory! The Grand Vizier and I have already gathered together thy host on the shores of the Bosphorus. They are ready, at a moment's notice, to embark in the ships prepared for them. Money and provisions in abundance have been sent to the frontier for the gallant Nuuman ...
— Halil the Pedlar - A Tale of Old Stambul • Mr Jkai

... they run is from those arrant thieves the wolverines, which, if they discover what is on the top of the scaffold, though they cannot climb up it, will set to work with their sharp teeth, and try to gnaw away the posts. ...
— Snow Shoes and Canoes - The Early Days of a Fur-Trader in the Hudson Bay Territory • William H. G. Kingston

... in the House of Commons added to the difficulties of the Government, as Mr. Bonar Law had complained in March. It was to placate them that the Convention had been summoned. It was a bone thrown to a snarling dog, and the longer there was anything to gnaw the longer would the dog keep quiet. The Ulster delegates understood this perfectly, and, as their chief desire was to help the Government to get on with the war, they had no wish to curtail the proceedings of the Convention, although they were never under the delusion ...
— Ulster's Stand For Union • Ronald McNeill

... to me, the only thing to be done. But I had the courage to hold my tongue, to gnaw at my entrails like the Spartan boy. I wished to leave him all ...
— A Journey to the Centre of the Earth • Jules Verne

... it, but had left exposed the entrails of a chicken which, by coincidence, formed the tempting bait. Distressed and perplexed, Lutra stayed by the dog-otter, trying in vain to release him from his sufferings. The trapped creature, beside himself with rage and fear and pain, attempted to gnaw through his crunched and almost severed foot; but as the dawn lightened the east, and before the limb could be freed, Ned the blacksmith was to be seen hurrying to the spot. Lutra dived out of sight, and, unable to interpose, watched, for a second time, ...
— Creatures of the Night - A Book of Wild Life in Western Britain • Alfred W. Rees

... the bees could have acquired this habit. Whether they discovered the inequality in the size of the nectar-holes in sucking the flowers in the proper way, and then utilised this knowledge in determining where to gnaw the hole; or whether they found out the best situation by biting through the standard at various points, and afterwards remembered its situation in visiting other flowers. But in either case they show a remarkable power of making use of what they have learnt by experience." It ...
— The Effects of Cross & Self-Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom • Charles Darwin

... of yaller dogs think they can put me out of office in this town they'll find they're tryin' to gnaw the wrong bone," ...
— The Skipper and the Skipped - Being the Shore Log of Cap'n Aaron Sproul • Holman Day

... bird-beaked creature, with long legs and horns laid flat by its sides, and miniature wings on its back. Observe that the sides of the tail, and one pair of legs, are fringed with dark hairs. After a fortnight's rest in this prison this 'nymph' will gnaw her way out and swim through the water on her back, by means of that fringed tail and paddles, till she reaches the bank and the upper air. There, under the genial light of day, her skin will burst, and a four-winged fly emerge, to buzz over the water as a fawn-coloured Caperer— ...
— Prose Idylls • Charles Kingsley

... continued, by night and by day. Now, according to the tradition, a little white ant, one of the kind which devours wood, came up out of the earth on the very day on which Solomon died, and began to gnaw the inside of his staff. She gnawed a little every day, until at last the staff became hollow from one end to the other; and on the day when she finished her work, the work of the Jinns was also finished. Then the staff ...
— The Vizier of the Two-Horned Alexander • Frank R. Stockton

... while underhand at one another's renderings, and the Emperor sitting by in his black velvet, smiling about as much as a felon at the hangman's jests. All his poor fools moreover, and the King's own, ready to gnaw their baubles for envy! That was the only sport I had! I'm wearier than if I'd been plying Smallbones' biggest hammer. The worst of it is that my Lord Cardinal is to stay behind and go on to Bruges as ambassador, and I with him, so thou must bear my greetings ...
— The Armourer's Prentices • Charlotte M. Yonge

... his hands above his iron heart? Or shall we gibbet on some satire here The name thrice-bought of some pale pamphleteer, Who, hunger-goaded, from his haunts obscure, Dared, quivering with impotence and spite, Insult the hope on Genius' brow of light, And gnaw the wreath his breath had made impure? The lyre! the lyre! I can be still no more. Upon the breath of spring my pinions fly. The air supports me—from the earth I soar, Thou weepest—God ...
— The Poems of Emma Lazarus - Vol. II. (of II.), Jewish Poems: Translations • Emma Lazarus

... you,' continued Brother Archangias. 'I discovered this hole.... You have disobeyed God, and have slain your own peace. Henceforward, for ever, temptation will gnaw you with its fiery tooth, and you will no longer have ignorance of evil to help you to fight it. It was that creature who tempted you to your fall, was it not? Do you not see the serpent's tail writhing amongst her hair? ...
— Abbe Mouret's Transgression - La Faute De L'abbe Mouret • Emile Zola

... mouse would not stay still. It ran right toward me, and I naturally jumped, as anybody would; but I am not afraid of mice, and when the horrid thing ran up inside the leg of my pantaloons, I yelled to Maria because I was afraid it would gnaw a hole in my garment. There is something real disagreeable about having a mouse inside the leg of one's pantaloons, especially if there is nothing between you and the mouse. Its toes are cold, and its nails are scratchy, and its fur tickles, and its tail feels crawly, and there is nothing pleasant ...
— The Universal Reciter - 81 Choice Pieces of Rare Poetical Gems • Various

... Sir Gaius stuck to his point, And to his Sir Ulpianus; How then later comers dabbled. Till the Emperor Justinianus, He of all the greatest dabbler, Sent them home about their business. And I often asked the question: 'Must it really be our fate then These dry bones to gnaw forever, Which were flung to us as remnants From their banquets by the Romans? Why should not, from soil Germanic, Spring the flower of her own law, Simple, full of forest fragrance— No luxuriant southern ...
— The Trumpeter of Saekkingen - A Song from the Upper Rhine. • Joseph Victor von Scheffel

... expanse of heaven are full of suggestion of that spirit-life, with its larger struggles or its universal peace, which is above the world's crowd and noise. And she determines that sorrow for what is fleeting shall not gnaw at her heart. ...
— A Handbook to the Works of Browning (6th ed.) • Mrs. Sutherland Orr

... his own door his wife came forth to meet him. "Much gladness!" she cried aloud before she saw his burden; "tempered only by a regret that you did not abandon your chase at an earlier hour. Fear not for the present that the wolf-tusk of famine shall gnaw our repose or that the dreaded wings of the white and scaly one shall hover about our house-top. Your wealthy cousin, journeying back to the Capital from the land of the spice forests, has been here in your absence, leaving ...
— Kai Lung's Golden Hours • Ernest Bramah

... is pointed, and his under jaw is shorter than the upper one. In front, on each jaw, he has two sharp teeth, shaped like the edge of a chisel, and these he uses to gnaw with. ...
— Friends in Feathers and Fur, and Other Neighbors - For Young Folks • James Johonnot

... three; so about was SHE - The maiden I wronged in Peninsular days . . . You may prate of your prowess in lusty times, But as years gnaw inward you blink your bays, And see too well ...
— Wessex Poems and Other Verses • Thomas Hardy

... clergy who suffer monks to enjoy from 5 to 6,000 livres income each person, whilst they see curates, who are at least as necessary, reduced to the lighter portion, as little for themselves as for their parish?"—And they yet gnaw on this slight pittance to pay the free gift. In this, as in the rest, the poor are charged to discharge the rich. In the diocese of Clermont, "the curates, even with the simple fixed rates, are subject to a tax of 60, 80, 100, ...
— The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 1 (of 6) - The Ancient Regime • Hippolyte A. Taine

... stroked the bow-bearer's hand, a condescension which made the footstool-bearer, parasol-bearer, quiver-bearer, and a dozen great lords more gnaw their lips with envy. Hydarnes, the commander who had waited an auspicious moment, now thought it safe to kneel on the lowest step of ...
— A Victor of Salamis • William Stearns Davis

... formidable to large animals, even in the days when they most abounded. They rarely attacked the horses of the hunter, and indeed were but little regarded by these experienced animals. They were much more likely to gnaw off the lariat with which the horse was tied, than to try to molest the steed himself. They preferred to prey on young animals, or on the weak and disabled. They rarely molested a full-grown cow or steer, still less a full-grown buffalo, and, if they did attack ...
— Hunting the Grisly and Other Sketches • Theodore Roosevelt

... he earns his money," Matteo responded, and, drawing a plate of deliciously fried frogs toward him, began to gnaw them and throw the bones ...
— Lippincott's Magazine, December 1878 • Various

... of breathing now, heavy, as from sustained exertion, making almost an undertone of the steady click-click-click of the ratchet, and the sullen gnaw of the bit. The minutes passed. The flashlight went on again—and Jimmie Dale strained forward. Two dark forms, backs to him, were outlined against the face of the safe which was at the far side of the room, a nickel dial ...
— The Further Adventures of Jimmie Dale • Frank L. Packard

... which he saw was not new to it settled upon her face—"I've set myself a goal; it's in sight now and I've got to reach it. If I stopped, I know that the feeling that I had been a quitter when a real temptation came to me would gnaw inside of me until I was restless and discontented, and I would have a contempt for myself that I don't ...
— The Fighting Shepherdess • Caroline Lockhart

... burst!—walked until he sank utterly exhausted by the roadside! It was a terrible death! To see the train disappear in the distance; to know he was abandoned to die of exposure and starvation; to think that the wolves would devour his flesh and gnaw his bones; to lie down on the great desert, hungry, famished, and completely prostrated by fatigue—to meet death thus is ...
— History of the Donner Party • C.F. McGlashan

... bottomless depth. If any horrid deed was doing now, how much more horrid in the awful still light of this first hour of a summer morn! How many evil passions now lay sunk under the holy waves of sleep! How many heartaches were gnawing only in dreams, to wake with the brain, and gnaw in earnest again! And over all brooded the love of the Lord Christ, who is Lord over all blessed for ever, and shall yet cast death and hell into the lake of ...
— Robert Falconer • George MacDonald

... passed for ever," he muttered, "the pillars of Hercules. I must go on or perish. If I fall, I die execrated and abhorred; if I succeed, the sound of the choral flutes will drown the hootings. Be it as it may, I do not and will not repent. If the wolf gnaw my entrails, none shall hear me groan." He turned and met the eyes of Alcman, fixed on him so intently, so exultingly, that, wondering at their strange expression, he drew back and said haughtily, "You imitate Medusa, but I am ...
— Pausanias, the Spartan - The Haunted and the Haunters, An Unfinished Historical Romance • Lord Lytton

... he still saw her, and the vision troubled him. They came in again at night, when the fire was sending red and yellow lights up and down the tepee walls, and the more he watched Oachi the stronger there grew within him something that seemed to gnaw and gripe with a dull sort of pain. Oachi was beautiful. He had never seen hair like her hair. He had never before seen eyes more beautiful. He had never heard a voice so low and sweet and filled with bird-like ripples of ...
— The Grizzly King • James Oliver Curwood

... fire, and a battle that hath no end. It crucifies worse than any tyrant; no torture, no strappado, no bodily punishment is like unto it." 'Tis the eagle without question which the poets feigned to gnaw [1642]Prometheus' heart, and "no heaviness is like unto the heaviness of the heart," Eccles. xxv. 15, 16. [1643]"Every perturbation is a misery, but grief a cruel torment," a domineering passion: as in old Rome, when the Dictator ...
— The Anatomy of Melancholy • Democritus Junior

... the class. That is just why. All the members of all the families I have named belong to the same order, the order of Rodents. All the members have big, cutting, front teeth. Animals without such teeth cannot gnaw. Now, as you and Jumper have learned about your family, it is the turn of Happy Jack and Chatterer to learn about their family. Theirs is rather a large family, and it is divided into three groups, the first ...
— The Burgess Animal Book for Children • Thornton W. Burgess

... divided into three stages. The first, or melancholy stage, usually lasts from twelve to forty-eight hours. The animal's behavior is altered and it becomes sullen, irritable and nervous. Sometimes it is friendly and inclined to lick the hand of its master. An inclination to gnaw or swallow indigestible objects is sometimes noted. Frequently a certain part of the ...
— Common Diseases of Farm Animals • R. A. Craig, D. V. M.

... moment what he was who wrote it; nay, not for a moment only, but for many barren moonlit nights and sunless sterile days will a despair that is not your own make its dwelling within you, and the misery of another gnaw your heart away. Read the whole book, suffer it to tell even one of its secrets to your soul, and your soul will grow eager to know more, and will feed upon poisonous honey, and seek to repent of strange crimes of which it is guiltless, and ...
— Intentions • Oscar Wilde

... pollen-mass upon its back necessarily comes first into contact with the viscid stigma,' which takes up the pollen; and this is how that orchid is fertilised. Or take this other case of the Catasetum 'Bees visit these flowers in order to gnaw the labellum; in doing this they inevitably touch a long, tapering, sensitive projection. This, when touched, transmits a sensation or vibration to a certain membrane, which is instantly ruptured, setting free a spring, by which the pollen-mass is shot forth like an arrow in the right direction, ...
— Fragments of science, V. 1-2 • John Tyndall

... and chandeliers, then Dona Patrocinio would have another with four facades, six feet higher, and more gorgeous hangings. Then he would fall back on his reserves, his strong point, his specialty—masses with bombs and fireworks; whereat Dona Patrocinia could only gnaw at her lips with her toothless gums, because, being exceedingly nervous, she could not endure the chiming of the bells and still less the explosions of the bombs. While he smiled in triumph, she would plan her revenge and pay the money of others to secure the best orators of the five Orders in Manila, ...
— The Social Cancer - A Complete English Version of Noli Me Tangere • Jose Rizal

... Foster new ones late in the spring. He's easy, too. Warren's the one to gnaw out heels, though young people are so much ...
— A Little Girl in Old Boston • Amanda Millie Douglas

... in the lodges of the Iroquois, And scalps will hang on the high ridge pole, But wolves will roam where the Yengees dwelt And will gnaw the bones of them all, Of the man, the woman, and the child. Victory and glory Aieroski gives to his children, The Mighty Six Nations, greatest ...
— The Scouts of the Valley • Joseph A. Altsheler

... Then, again, it is not only cheaper, but it is more deadly than the steel trap, for once the animal is caught, it seldom escapes. With the steel trap it is different, as animals often pull away from the steel jaws or even gnaw off a foot in order to get free. If, however, the hunter's deadfalls and traps have been set in vain, and if the wolf has been causing trouble and the hunter is determined to secure him, he will sit up for him at night in the hope of getting a shot at him. ...
— The Drama of the Forests - Romance and Adventure • Arthur Heming

... to the house in his arms, they soon followed, taking Peepsy and the dolls with them. The three dogs only remained under the cotton-wool tree, discussing the party very gravely, and wondering why it was that human beings never cared to gnaw bones. And so, rather sadly, ended ...
— Five Mice in a Mouse-trap - by the Man in the Moon. • Laura E. Richards

... your little line, Coherent sense you must resign, Cry, "Paradox alone's divine! LAMB had his manner, this is Mine!" Try strain and twist; gnaw the dry bone Of mirth till all the marrow's gone; And crowds, who first stared like a stone, Your "subtle genius" soon will own. Chorus—Tra-la! ...
— Punch, Or The London Charivari, Volume 102, March 5, 1892 • Various

... said I, 'these weeks ago, just as far as ever it will get; and that's as far as a rat can gnaw into a marlinespike. . . . Come out of this into fresh air,' said I with another look round on our images repeated in the mirrors. 'There are too many Farrells and Foes here. When I ran the game, at Versailles ...
— Foe-Farrell • Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... guilty shadow falling on its bed, that troubled its innocent rest? Did no dog howl, and strive to break its rattling chain, that it might tear him; no burrowing rat, scenting the work he had in hand, essay to gnaw a passage after him, that it might hold a greedy revel at the feast of his providing? When he looked back, across his shoulder, was it to see if his quick footsteps still fell dry upon the dusty pavement, or were already ...
— Life And Adventures Of Martin Chuzzlewit • Charles Dickens

... Rev. J. Hinton Knowles' Folk-Tales of Kashmir a merchant gives his stupid son a small coin with which he is to purchase something to eat, something to drink, something to gnaw, something to sow in the garden, and some food for the cow. A clever young girl advises him to buy a water-melon, which would answer all the purposes ...
— Flowers from a Persian Garden and Other Papers • W. A. Clouston

... soaked in rum and of rotten seal blubber, he would rush on the scent and greedily swallow whatever was offered. When he realised the sad truth that a huge hook with a strong barb was hidden inside this tempting dish and that it was no easy matter to disgorge the tasty morsel, he would try to gnaw through the shaft of the hook with his teeth. Very occasionally he might succeed, but usually his efforts failed. Attached to the book was a length of strong iron chain; and sometimes, though defeated by the hook, he would manage to snip through the chain. Then, in ...
— Seven Icelandic Short Stories • Various

... shall know all to-morrow, and his Highness the Stadtholder the day after. We know the law,—we shall give a second edition of the Buytenhof, Master Scholar, and a good one this time. Yes, yes, just gnaw your paws like a bear in his cage, and you, my fine little lady, devour your dear Cornelius with your eyes. I tell you, my lambkins, you shall not much longer have the felicity of conspiring together. Away with you, unnatural daughter! And as to you, Master Scholar, we shall ...
— The Black Tulip • Alexandre Dumas (Pere)

... their own, however small it be, try to make a party for themselves; each, revolving on his or her own axis, will attempt to self-centre a private whirlpool of human monads. To draw such a surrounding, the partisan of self will sometimes gnaw asunder the most precious of bonds, poison whole broods of infant loves. Such real schismatics go about, where not inventing evil, yet rejoicing in iniquity; mishearing; misrepresenting; paralyzing affection; separating hearts. Their chosen calling is that of the strife-maker, the ...
— Hope of the Gospel • George MacDonald

... highest point of the crags at the uttermost end of the island. On the side towards the sea the rock was once rent sheer away in some globe-cataclysm; it rises up a straight wall from the base where the waves gnaw at the stone below high-water mark. Any assault is made impossible by the dangerous reefs that stretch far out to sea, with the sparkling waves of the Mediterranean playing over them. So, only from the sea can you discern the square mass of the convent built conformably to the minute rules ...
— The Thirteen • Honore de Balzac

... murmured Pierre wearily. "I get discouraged standing and hearing them gnaw those leaves. I know they are just ...
— The Story of Silk • Sara Ware Bassett

... all naked and bare, And here's his skull with a tuft of hair! His heart is in the eagle's maw, His bloody bones the wolf doth gnaw. ...
— Memoirs • Charles Godfrey Leland

... fired by an equal ambition, all the occupants of the pea bore their way towards the delicious morsel. The journey is laborious, and the grubs must rest frequently in their provisional niches. They rest; while resting they frugally gnaw the riper tissues surrounding them; they gnaw rather to open a way than ...
— A Book of Exposition • Homer Heath Nugent

... take advantage of the darkness for an advance against the fort. Oh dear! We shall have to lie here and listen to the firing soon. Val, I don't think I'd mind being shot in the morning if I could only warn the Colonel. Do you think you could gnaw through ...
— Charge! - A Story of Briton and Boer • George Manville Fenn

... just escape overthrowing the feeble palings in front of the cottage doors. Within those palings the children at play scarcely turn to look; the very infants that can hardly toddle are so accustomed to the ponderous wonder that they calmly gnaw the crusts that keep them contented. It requires a full hour to get the unwieldy engines up the incline and round the sharp turns on to the open space by the workshop. The driver has to 'back,' and go-a-head, and 'back' again, a dozen times before he ...
— Hodge and His Masters • Richard Jefferies

... of it seizes her. Those sailors need not curse them! Ships safe in port have their own perils of rot and rust and worms in the wood that gnaw the heart to dust. . . . "That ...
— Browning's Heroines • Ethel Colburn Mayne

... to-morrow? No, it's just as I said: we must get our hands free; we must kill all these fellows, and be off." "But how are we to get our hands free, Rube?" "That's the only point I can't make out," he said. "If these fellows would leave us alone, it would be easy enough; we could gnaw through each other's thongs in ten minutes; but they won't let us do that. All the rest is easy enough. Just think it over, Seth." I did think it over, but I did not see my way to getting rid of our thongs. That done, the rest was possible enough. If we could get hold of a couple of rifles and ...
— Out on the Pampas - The Young Settlers • G. A. Henty

... within. Filthy, half-washed clothes of beggars hang down from the windows, drying in the sun as they flap and flutter against pretentious moulded masks of empty plaster. Miserable children loiter in the high-arched gates, under which smart carriages were meant to drive, and gnaw their dirty fingers, or fight for a cold boiled chestnut one of them has saved. Squalor, misery, ruin and vile stucco, with a sprinkling of half-desperate humanity,—those are the elements of the modern picture,—that is what the 'great development' of modern Rome brought forth and left ...
— Ave Roma Immortalis, Vol. 1 - Studies from the Chronicles of Rome • Francis Marion Crawford

... the pier's low undertone Of waves that chafe and gnaw; You start,—a skipper's horn is blown ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 11, Issue 67, May, 1863 • Various

... of rats and eke of mice, Of flies and bed-bugs, frogs and lice, Summons thee hither to the door-sill, To gnaw it where, with just a morsel Of oil, he paints the spot for thee:— There com'st thou, hopping on to me! To work, at once! The point which made me craven Is forward, on the ledge, engraven. Another bite makes free the door: ...
— Faust • Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

... for the sullen, frumpish fool, That loves to be oppression's tool, May envy gnaw his rotten soul, And discontent devour him; May dool and sorrow be his chance, Dool and sorrow, dool and sorrow, Dool and sorrow be his chance, And nane say, Wae 's me for him! May dool and sorrow be his chance, Wi' a' the ills that come frae France, Wha e'er ...
— The Modern Scottish Minstrel , Volume I. - The Songs of Scotland of the past half century • Various

... wanted to show it to other boys, or to look at it himself, which he did forty or fifty times a day, when he first got it. He had to have a small collar for the coon, and a little chain, because the coon would gnaw through a string in a minute. The coon himself never seemed to take much interest in keeping a coon, or to see much fun or sense in it. He liked to stay inside his box, where he had a bed of hay, and whenever the boy pulled ...
— Boy Life - Stories and Readings Selected From The Works of William Dean Howells • William Dean Howells

... not be amiss to give D'Alembert's theory of book-worms: "I believe," he says, "that a little beetle lays her eggs in books in August, thence is hatched a mite, like the cheese-mite, which devours books merely because it is compelled to gnaw its way out into the air." Book-worms like the paste which binders employ, but D'Alembert adds that they cannot endure absinthe. Mr. Blades finds too that they disdain to devour our adulterate ...
— The Library • Andrew Lang

... the slums, she struck up an acquaintance with a lieutenant in the —-st Foot, a Mr. Vannicock, who was stationed with his regiment at the Budmouth infantry barracks. As Laura frequently sat on the shelving beach, watching each thin wave slide up to her, and hearing, without heeding, its gnaw at the pebbles in its retreat, he often took a ...
— A Changed Man and Other Tales • Thomas Hardy

... and so close to the neck that the dog could not get his teeth to it, he had tied a stout stick four or five feet in length. The other end of the stick, in turn, was made fast to a stake in the ground by means of a leather thong. The dog was unable to gnaw through the leather at his own end of the stick. The stick prevented him from getting at the leather that fastened ...
— White Fang • Jack London

... seeing carpets fly out of window, ancient cobwebs come down, and long-undisturbed closets routed out to the great dismay of moths and mice, has been already confided to the cats, and as she sat there watching them lap and gnaw, she ...
— Jack and Jill • Louisa May Alcott

... my skin And gnaw my wasting flesh When God doth build my bones agen He'll cloath them ...
— Over the Border: Acadia • Eliza Chase

... how she amuses herself, for I find self-amusement the hardest drudgery I ever tried. I could stamp, I am so impatient of doing nothing but lounge about; I am as snappish as a chained cur, as cross as a caged bear. And while I gnaw my nails, and stretch, and yawn, I hear that contented, bee-like murmur, and now and then a light, rapid step on the stairs, or about rooms which I do not frequent. What can she find to be so busy about, the absurd little person? how ...
— Autumn Leaves - Original Pieces in Prose and Verse • Various

... hoping to escape, began to gnaw a hole in the boy's chest, and to tear his flesh with his sharp claws; but, in spite of the pain, the lad sat still, and let the ...
— The Story of the Greeks • H. A. Guerber

... clear; what we have got to do, as I understand it, is to outlive a crippled scoundrel. Well, love and a clear conscience will surely enable us to outlive a villain, whose spine is injured, and whose conscience must gnaw him, and who has no ...
— Put Yourself in His Place • Charles Reade

... soldier, drily; "did you ever grub on fat pork, Miss? No? Did you ever gnaw yer hard tack after a spell o' sickness, and a ten-hour march? No? P'raps you might like a streak o' mutton arterwards! P'raps you might take a notion for a couple o' chickens or so! No? How's that, Ike? What do you think, pardner? (to me) I ain't over and above cruel, mum. ...
— Campaigns of a Non-Combatant, - and His Romaunt Abroad During the War • George Alfred Townsend



Words linked to "Gnaw" :   decay, crumble, seize with teeth, dilapidate, bite, masticate, manducate, gnawer, chew, jaw, erode



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