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[ech] /ɛtʃ/
verb (used with object)
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.
to produce (a design, image, etc.) by this method, as on copper or glass.
to outline clearly or sharply; delineate, as a person's features or character.
to fix permanently in or implant firmly on the mind; root in the memory:
Our last conversation is etched in my memory.
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)
to practice the art of etching.
Printing. an acid used for etching.
1625-35; < Dutch etsen < German ätzen to etch, orig. cause to eat; cognate with Old English ettan to graze; akin to eat
Related forms
etcher, noun
unetched, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for etched
  • Students have volunteered to conduct the archival research that's required before each plaque can be etched and put in place.
  • Velvety gray-green leaves have deeply etched veins and scalloped lobes.
  • Her warm smile and her laugh are forever etched in our minds.
  • Understanding the symbols they etched in clay is another matter.
  • The arrows in the photo show the creases of the mouth in the inner layer, which are softer than those etched in the top layer.
  • Acoma's history is etched in the walls of its adobe buildings.
  • The names, etched on two silicon chips so small they can be read only with a microscope.
  • At each stage the layers are etched to make electrical connections.
  • Working in reverse, highlights are etched out and dark areas are left as is.
  • We are all indebted, and she remains etched in our memories.
British Dictionary definitions for etched


(transitive) to wear away the surface of (a metal, glass, etc) by chemical action, esp the action of an acid
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
(transitive) to cut with or as if with a sharp implement: he etched his name on the table
(transitive; usually passive) to imprint vividly: the event was etched on her memory
Derived Forms
etcher, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Dutch etsen, from Old High German azzen to feed, bite
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 etched



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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