\ ˈech How to pronounce etch (audio) \
etched; etching; etches

Definition of etch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to produce (something, such as a pattern or design) on a hard material by eating into the material's surface (as by acid or laser beam)
b : to subject to such etching
2 : to delineate or impress clearly scenes etched in our minds pain was etched on his features

intransitive verb

: to practice etching



Definition of etch (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the action or effect of etching a surface
2 : a chemical agent used in etching

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from etch


etcher noun

Synonyms for etch

Synonyms: Verb

engrave, grave, incise, inscribe, insculp [archaic]

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of etch in a Sentence


etched an identification number on the back of the television glass that has been etched with an identification number

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Skip the messy goop on the inside of your pumpkin by simply etching your design. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "Groovy Gourds," 9 Sep. 2019 Players around the league saluted Skaggs by etching his initials and jersey number onto their hats and into the dirt on mounds. Los Angeles Times, "Tyler Skaggs’ autopsy: Fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol led to death by choking on vomit," 30 Aug. 2019 This is how transistors are etched onto the surface of the silicon wafer. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "This Is the World's Largest Computer Chip," 27 Aug. 2019 Each tile has a few 1s and 0s etched onto it—000, 010, 101 and so on. Wired, "Quantum Computers Could Be True Randomness Generators," 23 June 2019 Lamb observed from first base, worry etched on his face, on one knee. Los Angeles Times, "Joc Pederson’s 11th-inning home run lifts Dodgers over Diamondbacks," 1 Sep. 2019 Last year, Kocharov got his name etched on the Stanley Cup when the Capitals took home the title. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Washington Capitals' Sergey Kocharov wins $1 million Powerball in Virginia," 13 Aug. 2019 For the engagement session, the duo had a blast posing throughout the store, hopping on shopping carts, and even kissing behind a heart etched on the foggy door in the freezer section. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Florida Publix Associates Who Fell in Love at Their Store Take Engagement Photos at Work," 7 Aug. 2019 No longer in the shadows of Irish golf, Shane Lowry now has his name etched on the base of the silver claret jug. Doug Ferguson,, "Out of the shadows of Irish golf, Shane Lowry a major champion," 22 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

From the clearing where we’d laid out our tents and camp pads, the opposite bank of the river was barely perceptible except for a faint Etch-a-Sketch panorama of sandstone buttes and towers. Jim Buchta,, "Call of the Colorado River leads to a family pilgrimage," 11 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'etch.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of etch


1634, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1896, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for etch


Dutch etsen, from German ätzen to etch, corrode, from Old High German azzen to feed; akin to Old High German ezzan to eat — more at eat

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about etch

Dictionary Entries near etch



et cetera





Statistics for etch

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for etch

The first known use of etch was in 1634

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for etch



English Language Learners Definition of etch

: to produce a pattern, design, etc., by using a powerful liquid (called an acid) to cut the surface of metal or glass


\ ˈech How to pronounce etch (audio) \
etched; etching

Kids Definition of etch

: to produce designs or figures on metal or glass by using acid to eat into the surface

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on etch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with etch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for etch

Spanish Central: Translation of etch

Nglish: Translation of etch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of etch for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about etch

Comments on etch

What made you want to look up etch? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!