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etch

[ech]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to cut, bite, or corrode with an acid or the like; engrave with an acid or the like, as to form a design in furrows that when charged with ink will give an impression on paper.
  2. to produce (a design, image, etc.) by this method, as on copper or glass.
  3. to outline clearly or sharply; delineate, as a person's features or character.
  4. to fix permanently in or implant firmly on the mind; root in the memory: Our last conversation is etched in my memory.
  5. Geology. to cut (a feature) into the surface of the earth by means of erosion: A deep canyon was etched into the land by the river's rushing waters.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to practice the art of etching.
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noun
  1. Printing. an acid used for etching.
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Origin of etch

1625–35; < Dutch etsen < German ätzen to etch, orig. cause to eat; cognate with Old English ettan to graze; akin to eat
Related formsetch·er, nounun·etched, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

portraydepictingrainstampinscribeimprintengraveincisedelineaterepresentexecutecuterodeoutlinepictureimpressdescribereducecorrodecompose

Examples from the Web for etch

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Etch and prepare the clean stone with phosphoric acid and gum.

  • Nothing was needed now except to etch the design in the upper cylinder.

  • The terms were, that Turner was to etch and Lewis to aquatint at five guineas a plate.

    Turner

    William Cosmo Monkhouse

  • Then, I love to etch, particularly on noses, and that was a good big one.

    Daisy

    Miranda Eliot Swan

  • The charcoal will leave the surface in a fit state to etch upon.

    A Treatise on Etching

    Maxime Lalanne


British Dictionary definitions for etch

etch

verb
  1. (tr) to wear away the surface of (a metal, glass, etc) by chemical action, esp the action of an acid
  2. to cut or corrode (a design, decoration, etc) on (a metal or other plate to be used for printing) by using the action of acid on parts not covered by wax or other acid-resistant coating
  3. (tr) to cut with or as if with a sharp implementhe etched his name on the table
  4. (tr; usually passive) to imprint vividlythe event was etched on her memory
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Derived Formsetcher, noun

Word Origin

C17: from Dutch etsen, from Old High German azzen to feed, bite
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for etch

v.

1630s, "to engrave by eating away the surface of with acids," from Dutch etsen, from German ätzen "to etch," from Old High German azzon "cause to bite, feed," from Proto-Germanic *atjanan, causative of *etanan "eat" (see eat). Related: Etched; etching.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper