Definition of eat away at (or eat something away) in English:

eat away at (or eat something away)

phrasal verb

  • 1Erode or destroy something gradually.

    ‘the sun and wind eat away at the ice’
    ‘prevents bone from being eaten away’
    • ‘The timbers have been eaten away by what Mr Fox calls ‘radioactive seepage’.’
    • ‘In that time literally millions of bombs have rained down on the soft Holderness earth - and now they are all being exposed as the cliffs are eaten away by the sea.’
    • ‘The stone blocks had been eaten away by time and now were only a shadow of their former glory.’
    • ‘The front porch had collapsed at one end where the supports had been eaten away by the fire and what looked like a bundle of rags had been wrapped around a post flanking the steps.’
    • ‘It seems everywhere that two apples rub up against each other, the skin has been eaten away by a worm.’
    • ‘Going into the room he expected to step on carpet but found that the carpet had been eaten away and in places there were only the bare floorboards underneath.’
    • ‘He wants to eat away at some of the more annoying kinds of brakes that can be applied to a measure along its legislative journey.’
    • ‘He swallowed hard, preparing to admit something that had bothered him for the past seven years, eating away at his insides.’
    • ‘If I don't make the initial effort, nobody bothers with me and that sucks and it's eating away at me.’
    • ‘‘I learned a long time ago that you can't let a big loss eat away at you,’ the coach said.’
    1. 1.1Use up (profits, resources, or time), especially when they are intended for other purposes.
      ‘inflation can eat away at the annuity's value over the years’
      • ‘Offering salespeople the right incentives to sell offshore deals eats away at lucrative margins.’
      • ‘There's something eating away at the global economy, creatures chomping through trillions of dollars.’
      • ‘There is some truth in the accusation that the offshore world eats away at government revenue.’
      • ‘Interest inflation, that is, is eating away at your returns every day.’
      • ‘This would be a real achievement, for nothing eats away at public confidence more than corruption.’
      • ‘Each of those planes will eat away at BA's European market.’
      • ‘It eats away at self confidence which is a problem all of the girls my age are having.’
      • ‘His wife takes in work as a seamstress and bakes to help support the family, as they eat away at their savings.’
      • ‘Bad investments usually subject investors to gut-wrenching volatility, while often eating away at their capital.’
      • ‘They are awarded in addition to monies granted for works on the ground so will not eat away at the £ 2.3m ring-fenced for capital improvements.’
      erode, corrode, abrade, wear away, wear away at, wear down, wear through, gnaw away, gnaw away at, bite into, burn into, burn through, consume, dissolve, disintegrate, crumble, waste away, rot, decay