Definition of gnash in English:



[with object]
  • 1Grind (one's teeth) together as a sign of anger (often used hyperbolically)

    ‘no doubt he is gnashing his teeth in rage’
    • ‘I imagine she's spent many nights since gnashing her teeth, even as I grit mine thinking of her pain.’
    • ‘When they announced they were going on a cruise, I was gnashing my teeth thinking, how could they abandon their babysitting duties?’
    • ‘This must have had wildlife campaigners gnashing their teeth, but it doesn't seem to have upset the animals, which got to me before I'd even had breakfast.’
    • ‘When I last checked in on their message board (some time in March, I think?) to see if there was word of a UK tour, all the UK fans were still gnashing their teeth over the absence of plans.’
    • ‘Just a year ago, people were gnashing their teeth that the US was lost and it was time to leave to friendlier climes.’
    • ‘Junko thought in anger as she gnashed her teeth.’
    • ‘Heathcliff is routinely described during the course of the narrative as grinding, clenching, and gnashing his teeth.’
    • ‘Many readers will at this stage not be able to read this column as they will scrunching up their fists, biting their nails, gnashing their teeth and chomping furiously on all forms of chewing gum!’
    • ‘Kathleen gnashed her teeth together as the backlash rolled through her mind and stabbed at her heart.’
    • ‘These people are, of course, the wild things crowding the shore, roaring and gnashing their teeth, rolling their eyes and showing their claws.’
    • ‘She gnashed her teeth together and narrowed her eyes.’
    • ‘OK, I'll stop wailing and gnashing my teeth now.’
    • ‘I am now finished my series of books and gnashing my teeth because the next in the series isn't published until later this year, so I've taken to re-reading the series that Brett has brought along.’
    • ‘He gnashed his teeth together and fumed silently.’
    • ‘Alex reached in and extracted what looked like a crocodile head that was gnashing its teeth together menacingly.’
    • ‘I'm not gnashing my teeth at finishing second so often - and some of them have been painful, believe me.’
    • ‘We had some other outings and play dates and none of these events ended with my son gnashing his teeth and throwing objects at other's heads.’
    • ‘Should we clean our teeth before gnashing them in anger at another signal failure?’
    • ‘The avalanche scene will be the talking point of the film, which was, in a word, spectacular, but my favourite bit was when Diesel is staring at a brick wall and starts crying and gnashing his teeth.’
    • ‘I am sure that there are plenty of Republicans grinning, and Democrats gnashing their teeth, right now… but at least the rest of us will get an interesting show.’
    grind, strike together, grate, rasp, grit
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1no object (of teeth) strike together; grind.
      ‘the dog's jaws were primed to gnash’
      • ‘Shrieking out and wailing, all the lawless teeth are gnashing.’
      • ‘Teeth gnashed in senior common rooms: could the university not support one expert in Sogdian?’
      • ‘My claws flash and my teeth gnash, making grinding noises in my ears.’
      • ‘Her face contorted into an animalistic snarl, her muscles tensed, her concentration rose to a new acme, her blood raced, her hair stood on end, and her teeth gnashed together.’
      • ‘So at least I'm not delivering the platter to my DVD player with my teeth gnashing in fury.’
      • ‘His face was flushed with indescribable rage, his teeth gnashing with his eyes bulging.’
      • ‘So the whole thing becomes an anti-climax that set my teeth gnashing once again.’
      • ‘He roars and snarls at the crowd, his eyes rolling, his teeth gnashing.’
      • ‘He saw their tongues flopping, their teeth gnashing.’
      • ‘Kay's eyes flew open and she leaped at Jon, fists clenched, teeth gnashing and Aya and I could barely hold her back.’
      • ‘Growls curl out of my throat, my teeth gnash in my mouth.’
      • ‘Opening its jaws, the wolf-like beast charged forward, teeth gnashing at the air and paws thudding off the ground.’
      • ‘Sharp snaggled teeth gnashed at her as if the demon didn't realize who it was she faced.’
      • ‘That's our teeth gnashing, that noise, by the way.’
      • ‘Jared clenched his jaw so tightly that his teeth gnashed unpleasantly.’
      • ‘Gilgamesh roared, his teeth gnashing together in an effort to hold the stronger, older man back.’


Late Middle English: perhaps related to Old Norse gnastan ‘a gnashing’.