Word Origin & History
O.E. ceorfan (class III strong verb; past tense cearf, pp. corfen), from W.Gmc. *kerfan, from PIE base *gerebh- "to scratch," making carve the Eng. cognate of Gk. graphein. Once extensively used, most senses now usurped by cut. Meaning specialized to sculpture, meat, etc., by 16c. Strong conjugation
became weak, but archaic carven is still encountered. In a set of dining chairs, the one with the arms, usually at the head of the table, is the carver (1927), reserved for the one who carves.