\ˈech \
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

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Other Words from etch


etcher noun

Synonyms for etch

Synonyms: Verb

brand, engrave, impress, imprint, infix, ingrain (also engrain)

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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

Alcantara is etched in as a large part of that future, the top pitching prospect in the system and the jewel right-handed pitcher acquired in a flurry of winter trades that wiped the roster and purged the Marlins outfield. Matthew Defranks,, "Marlins' future on display as Sandy Alcantara, Lewis Brinson lead Miami past Mets," 30 June 2018 Drivers' faces are sculpted on the side, and their names and winning year are etched in the trophy. John Tuohy, Indianapolis Star, "BorgWarner builds new HQ, brings 300 jobs to Noblesville," 14 June 2018 Those words are etched in stone at his grave in Arlington National Cemetery. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: RFK’s speech in apartheid South Africa remains relevant 50 years after his assassination," 5 June 2018 Whiskeytown Falls, Shasta County: A trail is etched into rock alongside 220-foot Whiskeytown, which curves down a canyon in a series of levels. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, "Northern California’s 12 splashiest waterfalls," 17 May 2018 Each is etched with the names of victims and their home counties. Steven Litt,, "MASS design for new MLK branch, rejecting idea of apartments overhead, is best of 3 proposals (commentary)," 14 May 2018 Her years-long recovery is etched in her memory, down to the smell and taste of the operating-room anesthesia and the stinging schoolyard taunts over her disfigurement. Kristin E. Holmes,, "An absent mother, a badly burned daughter, and a bond forged in a Germantown house fire," 12 May 2018 But the names of Triple Crown winners are etched into history and never forgotten. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "How many horses have won the Triple Crown? A history of the honor," 1 May 2018 The lines on her face are etched with a deliberateness that matches her unyielding disposition. Charles Mcnulty,, "My disastrous tea with Glenda Jackson," 26 Apr. 2018

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.

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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

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Learn More about etch

Dictionary Entries near etch


et cetera






Phrases Related to etch

carved/etched/set/written in stone

Statistics for etch

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for etch

The first known use of etch was in 1634

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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 \
etched; etching

Kids Definition of etch

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

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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 reject or criticize sharply

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