etch [ech] ExamplesWord Origin See more synonyms for etch on 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.

verb (used without object)

  1. to practice the art of etching.


  1. Printing. an acid used for etching.

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 Related Words for etch portray, depict, ingrain, stamp, inscribe, imprint, engrave, incise, delineate, represent, execute, cut, erode, outline, picture, impress, describe, reduce, corrode, compose Examples from the Web for etch Contemporary Examples of etch

  • I wish I could rub out my life,” she laments in the opening chapter, “twiddling knobs as on an Etch A Sketch, and start again.

    Feminist Flagellant: Liz Jones’s Surprising Brand of Tell-All

    Emma Garman

    July 22, 2013

  • On cable, you shake an Etch a Sketch every time you go on air.

    Why Hagel Matters

    Peter Beinart

    January 7, 2013

  • But once he broke out the big Etch A Sketch in his first debate against President Obama, Mitt started soaring in the polls.

    Moderate Mitt’s Rise and Conservatives’ Cognitive Dissonance

    John Avlon

    October 16, 2012

  • But Lamont calls him “an Etch a Sketch candidate” and says he had “not a prayer” of winning reelection.

    Joe Lieberman’s Slow-Motion Divorce From the Democratic Party

    Howard Kurtz

    July 18, 2012

  • He could not control the pattern of lines beginning to etch themselves into the skin of that young face.

    Walker Evans’ Famous Picture of an Alabama Tenant Farmer’s Wife Is Celebrated and Explained

    Malcolm Jones

    July 11, 2012

  • Historical Examples of etch

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

    The Invention of Lithography

    Alois Senefelder

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

    The Invention of Lithography

    Alois Senefelder

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


    William Cosmo Monkhouse

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


    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

    Derived Formsetcher, nounWord Origin for etch C17: from Dutch etsen, from Old High German azzen to feed, bite 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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