etch

If you etch something you are cutting into it. You can etch "I ♥ U" into a tree trunk with a pocket knife or etch your initials in your desk with a key (if the teacher's not looking).

However and whatever you etch, it is generally considered a deep and lasting mark. The figurative use of etch is just as common as its literal sense. A particularly powerful memory, image or emotion is said to "etch itself" into your mind, meaning, like that piece of graffiti you etched into the tree trunk, it won't be likely to be erased anytime soon. Incise and carve are often interchangeable with etch.

Primary Meanings of etch

1.
v
carve or cut a design or letters into
2.
v
cause to stand out or be clearly defined or visible
Full Definitions of etch
1

v carve or cut a design or letters into

Synonyms:
engrave
engrave, grave, inscribe, scratch
carve, cut, or etch into a material or surface
Type of:
carve, chip at
engrave or cut by chipping away at a surface

v carve or cut into a block used for printing or print from such a block

Synonyms:
engrave
Types:
benday
reproduce by the Benday process
stipple
engrave by means of dots and flicks
Type of:
print
make into a print

v selectively dissolve the surface of (a semiconductor or printed circuit) with a solvent, laser, or stream of electrons

Type of:
dissolve
cause to fade away

v make an etching of

“He etched her image into the surface”
Types:
aquatint
etch in aquatint
Type of:
print
make into a print
2

v cause to stand out or be clearly defined or visible

“a face etched with pain”
“the leafless branches etched against the sky”
Type of:
show
make visible or noticeable

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