The origin of the name Gnaw Bone is obscure. One theory is that the town's name derives from that of the original French settlement in the area, Narbonne, named in turn for the southern French city of that name. To the ears of English settlers at the time, "Narbonne" sounded like and came to be known as "Gnaw Bone." Another story says that many years ago some one was looking for a certain man and was told, "I seed him over at the Hawkins place a' gnawin' on a bone." Gnaw Bone has frequently been noted on lists of unusual place names.
^Ashley, Leonard. 1995. "Folk Etymology in the Place Names of the United States." In Eichler, Ernst et al. (eds.) Namenforschung: ein internationales Handbuch zur Onomastik (pp. 471–475). Berlin: de Gruyter, p. 472.
^Rubino, Carl A. Rubino, & Cynthia W. Shelmerdine. 1983. Approaches to Homer. Austin: University of Texas Press, p. 76.