\ 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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of etch in a Sentence

Verb 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 The moments in which Kerry Ehrin, The Morning Show’s showrunner, and Mimi Leder, its director and executive producer, etch out Mitch’s stages of delusion are riveting to watch. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "What Makes The Morning Show Worth Watching," 1 Nov. 2019 Today, branching river networks still lure would-be explainers, many of whom hope to glimpse some underlying mathematical code responsible for etching out these common patterns. Quanta Magazine, "A Universal Law for the ‘Blood of the Earth’," 28 Nov. 2018 September 1, 2019, is now a day etched into the marble of Bahamian history and Bahamian memory. Ferguson Bernard, The New Yorker, "Hurricane Dorian Was a Climate Injustice," 12 Sep. 2019 Flexibility of use was sacrificed, too: to keep things as cheap and simple as possible the algorithm is etched directly into the plastic, meaning the chips are not reprogrammable. The Economist, "How to build a disposable microchip," 12 Sep. 2019 Petroglyph Beach acquired its name from the panels of ancient rock art etched into a nearby cliff face. Roger Naylor, azcentral, "Now you can kayak Arizona's famous Horseshoe Bend. Here's how.," 5 Sep. 2019 No silverware was added to the cabinet, though painful memories were etched into the minds of supporters and players alike; the latter must ensure those ghosts are laid to rest., "Real Madrid: The XI That Should Start Against Real Valladolid," 22 Aug. 2019 Yes, that’s a lion’s face, the restaurant’s logo, etched into the block of ice chilling your cocktail. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "At Punjab Grill, there are plenty of gilty pleasures," 21 Aug. 2019 But her best advice was to go to the cemetery and look for gravestones with the name Costanza etched into them. Steve Lopezcolumnist, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Steve Lopez goes to Italy and searches for his Sicilian roots," 17 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

Statistics for etch

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

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


How to pronounce etch (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for etch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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 engage in dissolute behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!