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