\ 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

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Other Words from etch


etcher noun

Synonyms for etch

Synonyms: Verb

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

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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

Johnson now wants a general election in mid-October, but the opposition won’t play ball until the anti-no-deal law is etched in stone. David Meyer, Fortune, "Dow Chemical’s Sustainability Drive: CEO Daily," 4 Sep. 2019 Cerebras has pushed this approach to the limit: its chip is the biggest that can be cut from the largest available wafers, the round sheets of silicon onto which transistors are etched. The Economist, "Cerebras unveils the world’s chunkiest AI chip," 22 Aug. 2019 And the clean grill marks etched across chicken breast painted with chipotle and cilantro sauces were just window dressing for meat that came out dry and stringy. Mike Sutter,, "Review: Aldaco’s Mexican Cuisine restaurant is mid-level Mexican food in San Antonio’s Stone Oak," 22 Aug. 2019 Get our daily newsletter Cerebras has pushed this approach to the limit: its chip is the biggest that can be cut from the largest available wafers, the round sheets of silicon into which transistors are etched. The Economist, "Will the world’s biggest AI chip find buyers?," 19 Aug. 2019 Hubbard’s thoughts on Thetans will survive anything, as they’re reportedly inscribed on etched steel plates in titanium containers filled with inert argon gas. Matt Farwell, The New Republic, "Jeffrey Epstein Chose New Mexico for a Reason," 15 Aug. 2019 Police received a report that Graffiti was etched Aug. 2 on a tunnel, walls and some signs along a bicycle path near Green Bay Road and Route 176. Daniel I. Dorfman,, "Lake Bluff police: Officers investigate car burglary and graffiti found along bike path," 13 Aug. 2019 In spots where the tool seemed to dull, the hominin made several passes of the stone tip, etching multiple lines that nearly overlap. Maya Wei-haas, National Geographic, "Oldest carving in East Asia found. But its maker is a mystery.," 24 July 2019 Printmaking lecture Saturday at museum California Center for the Arts, Escondido Museum hosts a printmaking lecture by etching-printmaker Oliver Dewey-Gartner at 1 p.m. Saturday. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Brother Benno’s ‘Sip and Paint’ fundraiser to help working poor, homeless," 24 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.

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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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Dictionary Entries near etch



et cetera





Statistics for etch

Last Updated

8 Sep 2019

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 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

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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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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