the act or process of making designs or pictures on a metal plate, glass, etc., by the corrosive action of an acid instead of by a burin.
an impression, as on paper, taken from an etched plate.
the design so produced.
a metal plate bearing such a design.

Origin of etching

First recorded in 1625–35; etch + -ing1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for etchings

Historical Examples of etchings

  • His industry may be inferred from the number of his engravings and etchings, of which he left not fewer than 1600.


    Samuel Smiles

  • There are three kinds of prints, engravings, etchings, and mezzotintos.

  • These etchings were published again in 1740 as Errores Ulyssis.

  • As yet, power rather than beauty presided, unless in the etchings of Vandyck.

  • I think his etchings are as good as any line work the war has produced.

British Dictionary definitions for etchings



the art, act, or process of preparing etched surfaces or of printing designs from them
an etched plate
an impression made from an etched plate
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 etchings



1630s, action of the verb etch, also "the art of engraving;" 1760s as "a print, etc., made from an etched plate."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

etchings in Culture


An artistic print made from a plate on which the artist has etched a design with acid. (Compare engraving.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.