gnashing down

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Senior Member

I don't know why writer here uses the verb: gnashing, since it seems that the denture came down, falling down, it doesn't have the meaning of gnashing(grinding the teeth)! what's your idea about the meaning and usage of gnashing? I guess maybe his denture strikes together, is that so?

"Bose threw back his head to laugh and his dentures came gnashing down. He hurriedly lowered his head and gobbled them up again."

It's part of Inheritance of Loss, a novel by Kiran Desai.

Thank you.
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hullo Maryam. Gnash is quite a handy verb which can (with a bit of poetic licence such as Kiran Desai seems to use a lot) mean more or less anything involving teeth and noise:

    His dentures came gnashing down = "his dentures fell down/out* with a loud noise"
    I found the dog gnashing on a bone = "I found the dog chewing noisily on a bone"
    She gnashed out a reply with real venom = "she answered loudly and viciously through her teeth"

    * In your sentence it seems to mean that Bose's dentures actually fell out of his mouth as he had to gobble them up again:)
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