worrying at fissures

noha shehata

Senior Member
What is meant by worrying at fissures in the following sentence descripting a volcano: It grumbled as it slept, while heating geysers till they burst and restlessly worrying at fissures until they grew so deep that no one could find the bottom?

From: The Girl who drank the moon
context: description of a volcano in the forest
  • The context isn't very clear, but "to worry" in that sense is "to pull, twist, or bite (something) repeatedly." A dog might "worry" a bone, for example.
    When I have a scratch on my arm, I have a bad habit of worrying at the scab (rubbing it, poking it, scratching it, ...). The scab eventually comes off and if I don't stop myself I sometimes end up with a larger wound than I had to start with.
    To worry is used figuratively:

    worry - WordReference.com Dictionary of English

    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
    worry /ˈwʌrɪ/

    5. (transitive) (of a dog, wolf, etc) to lacerate or kill by biting, shaking, etc
    when intr, followed by at: to bite, tear, or gnaw (at) with the teeth: a dog worrying a bone
    6. (transitive) to touch or poke repeatedly and idly.