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[kahrv] /kɑrv/
verb (used with object), carved, carving.
to cut (a solid material) so as to form something:
to carve a piece of pine.
to form from a solid material by cutting:
to carve a statue out of stone.
to cut into slices or pieces, as a roast of meat.
to decorate with designs or figures cut on the surface:
The top of the box was beautifully carved with figures of lions and unicorns.
to cut (a design, figures, etc.) on a surface:
Figures of lions and unicorns were carved on the top of the box.
to make or create for oneself (often followed by out):
He carved out a career in business.
verb (used without object), carved, carving.
to carve figures, designs, etc.
to cut meat.
Origin of carve
before 1000; Middle English kerven, Old English ceorfan to cut; cognate with Middle Low German kerven, German kerben, Greek gráphein to mark, write; see graph
Related forms
carver, noun
recarve, verb, recarved, recarving.
semicarved, adjective
uncarved, adjective
undercarve, verb (used with object), undercarved, undercarving.
well-carved, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for carved
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was there that the Egyptians, in the days when they worshipped demons, carved their idols.

    Thais Anatole France
  • On the wall opposite the house the name of "Gladstone" is carved.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • The gilded vanes on their twisted chimneys and carved parapets pointed motionless to the warm south.

    Folle-Farine Ouida
  • The edges and corners of the box were carved with most wonderful skill.

    The Paradise of Children Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • There was a litter, carved and gilt, with its four mattrasses of blue embroidered satin.

British Dictionary definitions for carved


(transitive) to cut or chip in order to form something: to carve wood
to decorate or form (something) by cutting or chipping: to carve statues
to slice (meat) into pieces: to carve a turkey
See also carve out, carve up
Word Origin
Old English ceorfan; related to Old Frisian kerva, Middle High German kerben to notch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for carved



Old English ceorfan (class III strong verb; past tense cearf, past participle corfen) "to cut, cut down, slay; to carve, cut out, engrave," from West Germanic *kerfan (cf. Old Frisian kerva, Middle Dutch and Dutch kerven, German kerben "to cut, notch"), from PIE root *gerbh- "to scratch," making carve the English cognate of Greek graphein "to write," originally "to scratch" on clay tablets with a stylus.

Once extensively used, most senses now usurped by cut (v.). Meaning specialized to sculpture, meat, etc., by 16c. Related: Carved; carving. Original strong conjugation has been abandoned, but archaic carven lingers.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for carved



To give one a thrill; send: He carves me. Does he carve you? (1930s+ Jive talk)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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carved in the Bible

The arts of engraving and carving were much practised among the Jews. They were practised in connection with the construction of the tabernacle and the temple (Ex. 31:2, 5; 35:33; 1 Kings 6:18, 35; Ps. 74:6), as well as in the ornamentation of the priestly dresses (Ex. 28:9-36; Zech. 3:9; 2 Chr. 2:7, 14). Isaiah (44:13-17) gives a minute description of the process of carving idols of wood.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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