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1630s, action of the verb etch, also "the art of engraving;" 1760s as "a print, etc., made from an etched plate."
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.
An artistic print made from a plate on which the artist has etched a design with acid. (Compare engraving.)