eat away

To eat away is to gradually wear away or destroy, the way salt water will slowly eat away at the wooden pilings holding up a dock.

Sharply carved granite along a rocky shore is evidence that the sea will eat away at anything that spends enough time with waves crashing on it. In addition to corrosive substances like salt water and acid, an emotion like regret or anger can figuratively eat away too: "I'm done being mad at my brother. That negative emotion never bothers him, but it eats away at me."

Definitions of eat away
  1. verb
    wear away or erode
    synonyms: fret
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    type of:
    corrode, rust
    become destroyed by water, air, or a corrosive such as an acid
  2. verb
    remove soil or rock
    synonyms: erode, fret
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    types:
    wash
    form by erosion
    type of:
    damage
    inflict damage upon
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