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chip away

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phrasal verb [intransitive/transitive]
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theychip away
he/she/itchips away
present participlechipping away
past tensechipped away
past participlechipped away
  1. 1
    to remove small pieces from something hard by hitting it with a tool

    Use a hammer to chip away the edge.

    chip away at:

    She was chipping away at the ground with a trowel.

  2. 2
    to gradually make something weaker, smaller, or less effective

    The company's dominance of the market is gradually being chipped away.

    chip away at:

    Her comments were beginning to chip away at his self-confidence.

See also main entry: chip

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