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[en-grey-ving] /ɛnˈgreɪ vɪŋ/
the act or art of a person who or thing that engraves.
the art of forming designs by cutting, corrosion by acids, a photographic process, etc., on the surface of a metal plate, block of wood, or the like, for or as for the purpose of taking off impressions or prints of the design so formed.
the design engraved.
an engraved plate or block.
an impression or print from this.
Origin of engraving
1595-1605; engrave + -ing1


[en-greyv] /ɛnˈgreɪv/
verb (used with object), engraved, engraving.
to chase (letters, designs, etc.) on a hard surface, as of metal, stone, or the end grain of wood:
She had the jeweler engrave her name on the back of the watch.
to print from such a surface.
to mark or ornament with incised letters, designs, etc.:
He engraved the ring in a floral pattern.
to impress deeply; infix:
That image is engraved on my mind.
1500-10; < Middle French engraver; see en-1, grave3
Related forms
engravable, adjective
engraver, noun
reengrave, verb (used with object), reengraved, reengraving.
superengrave, verb (used with object), superengraved, superengraving.
underengraver, noun
unengraved, adjective
well-engraved, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for engraving
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When the varnish is removed with spirits of turpentine, the engraving is seen in sunken lines on the plate.

    Paper and Printing Recipes J. Sawtelle Ford
  • So he turned to Antoine, who had remained seated in front of a block he was engraving.

  • The engraving shows a figure seated before a table and wearing a huge wig.

    El Kab J.E. Quibell
  • I have stopped the mouths of all the painters who used to say that I was good at engraving but, as to painting.

    Albert Durer T. Sturge Moore
  • I ought to speak, I shall speak, as if I were engraving history for posterity!

  • He was induced to commence the engraving by the following circumstance.

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
  • This exquisite gem of the picturesque is represented in our engraving.

British Dictionary definitions for engraving


the art of a person who engraves
a block, plate, or other surface that has been engraved
a print made from such a surface
adjective glyptic


verb (transitive)
to inscribe (a design, writing, etc) onto (a block, plate, or other surface used for printing) by carving, etching with acid, or other process
to print (designs or characters) from a printing plate so made
to fix deeply or permanently in the mind
Derived Forms
engraver, noun
Word Origin
C16: from en-1 + grave³, on the model of French engraver
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 engraving



late 15c. (implied in ingraved), from en- (1) + obsolete verb grave "carve" (see grave (v.)). Related: Engraved; engraving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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engraving in Culture

engraving definition

An artistic print made from a metal plate on which an artist has cut a design with a graver or a small chisel. (Compare etching.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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