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to wear away
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Wear \Wear\, v. t. [imp. Wore (w[=o]r); p. p. Worn (w[=o]rn); p. pr. & vb. n. Wearing. Before the 15th century wear was a weak verb, the imp. & p. p. being Weared.] [OE. weren, werien, AS. werian to carry, to wear, as arms or clothes; akin to OHG. werien, weren, to clothe, Goth. wasjan, L. vestis clothing, vestire to clothe, Gr. "enny`nai, Skr. vas. Cf. Vest.] [1913 Webster] 1. To carry or bear upon the person; to bear upon one's self, as an article of clothing, decoration, warfare, bondage, etc.; to have appendant to one's body; to have on; as, to wear a coat; to wear a shackle. [1913 Webster] What compass will you wear your farthingale? --Shak. [1913 Webster] On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore, Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore. --Pope. [1913 Webster] 2. To have or exhibit an appearance of, as an aspect or manner; to bear; as, she wears a smile on her countenance. "He wears the rose of youth upon him." --Shak. [1913 Webster] His innocent gestures wear A meaning half divine. --Keble. [1913 Webster] 3. To use up by carrying or having upon one's self; hence, to consume by use; to waste; to use up; as, to wear clothes rapidly. [1913 Webster] 4. To impair, waste, or diminish, by continual attrition, scraping, percussion, on the like; to consume gradually; to cause to lower or disappear; to spend. [1913 Webster] That wicked wight his days doth wear. --Spenser. [1913 Webster] The waters wear the stones. --Job xiv. 19. [1913 Webster] 5. To cause or make by friction or wasting; as, to wear a channel; to wear a hole. [1913 Webster] 6. To form or shape by, or as by, attrition. [1913 Webster] Trials wear us into a liking of what, possibly, in the first essay, displeased us. --Locke. [1913 Webster] To wear away, to consume; to impair, diminish, or destroy, by gradual attrition or decay. To wear off, to diminish or remove by attrition or slow decay; as, to wear off the nap of cloth. To wear on or To wear upon, to wear. [Obs.] "[I] weared upon my gay scarlet gites [gowns.]" --Chaucer. To wear out. (a) To consume, or render useless, by attrition or decay; as, to wear out a coat or a book. (b) To consume tediously. "To wear out miserable days." --Milton. (c) To harass; to tire. "[He] shall wear out the saints of the Most High." --Dan vii. 25. (d) To waste the strength of; as, an old man worn out in military service. To wear the breeches. See under Breeches. [Colloq.] [1913 Webster]