One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A person who or animal which engages in gnashing or grinding of the teeth; (figurative) a person who is (excessively) agitated or fretful about something; compare "gnasher".
2A suspenseful or agonizing event, situation, etc.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Edward Topsell (d. 1625), Church of England clergyman and author.
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