1. ergative phrasal verb & phrasal verb If you wear something down or if it wears down, it becomes flatter or smoother as a result of constantly rubbing against something else. [V P n] ⇒ Pipe smokers sometimes wear down the tips of their teeth where they grip their pipes. [V P] ⇒ The machines start to wear down, they don't make as many nuts and bolts as they used to. [V n P] ⇒ Elephants wear the tusk down faster than they can grow it. 2. phrasal verb → wear If you wear someone down, you make them gradually weaker or less determined until they eventually do what you want. [V P n (not pron)] ⇒ None can match your sheer will-power and persistence in wearing down the opposition. [V P n] ⇒ They hoped the waiting and the uncertainty would wear down my resistance. [V n P] ⇒ He believed that he could wear her down if he only asked often enough.
COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. Copyright © Harper Collins Publishers