Definition of chip away at in English:

chip away at

phrasal verb

  • Gradually and relentlessly make something smaller or weaker:

    ‘rivals may chip away at one's profits by undercutting prices’
    • ‘It will take some chipping away at, one dimension at a time.’
    • ‘Those are the people they're chipping away at now.’
    • ‘They like to wrap themselves in the American flag and yet they're totally chipping away at what it stands for.’
    • ‘Raquel still stood stiffly, but the passion in his voice was gradually chipping away at her suspicions.’
    • ‘A premium brand has been chipped away at by serious price competition and an ever-increasing level of quality on the part of cheaper competitors.’
    • ‘But over the match, Tranfield gradually chipped away at Nimmo's confidence and forced her to play long rallies.’
    • ‘It's hundreds of illnesses that you have to go and chip away at.’
    • ‘Academic challenges chipped away at what was left of Parr's self-confidence.’
    • ‘Of course, his persona was one of golden husband and do-gooder WASP, something he's clearly revelling in chipping away at here.’
    • ‘A similar pathway system is envisioned in the East Village, but some argue the project's plans have already chipped away at what makes Eau Claire so successful.’
    • ‘The vision that you have at the beginning is just constantly chipped away at, and you haven't even filmed anything.’
    • ‘‘I find it very depressing that we have a vision for the town centre and they chip away at it and erode the vision,’ said Coun Allen.’
    • ‘Now, many fear we are chipping away at what it means to be an American, devaluing the citizenship those millions worked so hard to attain.’
    • ‘You also have people chipping away at that, continually.’
    • ‘What is also very difficult to identify are the areas where Freedom of Expression is chipped away at by stealth where misguided good intentions or simple greed is the cause.’
    • ‘But loyalty is something that takes a lot of time to chip away at and it also takes a lot of time to replace.’
    • ‘Ron, is this something the president can chip away at and make progress on between now and November?’
    • ‘It would only serve to enrage Dvorak even more as it's exactly these new ‘columnists’ who are chipping away at his crumbling throne.’
    • ‘The smaller beasties can be easily killed off with any assortment of weaponry but the larger enemies must first be chipped away at with artillery or grenades, and doused with fire in order to be killed.’
    • ‘The Justice Department has already chipped away at more than 20 years of privacy standards by arresting AIDS and cancer patients who use medical marijuana.’
    wear away, wear down, abrade, scrape away, grind down, crumble, dissolve, weather
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