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.

Definitions of etch
  1. verb
    carve or cut a design or letters into
    synonyms: engrave
    engrave, grave, inscribe, scratch
    carve, cut, or etch into a material or surface
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    type of:
    carve, chip at
    engrave or cut by chipping away at a surface
  2. verb
    carve or cut into a block used for printing or print from such a block
    synonyms: engrave
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    types:
    benday
    reproduce by the Benday process
    stipple
    engrave by means of dots and flicks
    type of:
    print
    make into a print
  3. verb
    selectively dissolve the surface of (a semiconductor or printed circuit) with a solvent, laser, or stream of electrons
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    type of:
    dissolve
    cause to fade away
  4. verb
    make an etching of
    “He etched her image into the surface”
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    types:
    aquatint
    etch in aquatint
    type of:
    print
    make into a print
  5. verb
    cause to stand out or be clearly defined or visible
    “a face etched with pain”
    “the leafless branches etched against the sky”
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    type of:
    show
    make visible or noticeable
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