When you cut a design into a piece of wood or marble, you carve it. Headstone engravers carve people's names and the dates of their births and deaths into gravestones.

You might carve your initials into the tree in your backyard, or carve a walking stick out of a large branch. Some artists work by carving shapes from clay or granite, and a chef learns to carve, or precisely cut up, large cuts of meat and poultry. The Old English root word is ceorfan, "to cut, slay, carve, or engrave."

Definitions of carve
  1. verb
    engrave or cut by chipping away at a surface
    carve one's name into the bark”
    synonyms: chip at
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    carve with a chisel
    engrave, grave, inscribe, scratch
    carve, cut, or etch into a material or surface
    engrave, etch
    carve or cut a design or letters into
    engrave or inscribe characters on
    type of:
    separate with or as if with an instrument
  2. verb
    form by carving
    Carve a flower from the ice”
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    hew, hew out
    make or shape as with an axe
    grave, sculpt, sculpture
    shape (a material like stone or wood) by whittling away at it
    carve a pattern into
    rough-hew, roughcast
    hew roughly, without finishing the surface
    carve a honeycomb pattern into
    type of:
    separate with or as if with an instrument
    forge, form, mold, mould, shape, work
    make something, usually for a specific function
  3. verb
    cut to pieces
    “Father carved the ham”
    synonyms: cut up
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    make shavings of or reduce to shavings
    filet, fillet
    cut into filets
    type of:
    separate with or as if with an instrument
Word Family