in·​cise in-ˈsīz How to pronounce incise (audio) -ˈsīs How to pronounce incise (audio)
incised; incising

transitive verb

: to carve (something, such as an inscription) into a surface
: to carve figures, letters, or devices into : engrave
: to cut into

Examples of incise in a Sentence

The design is incised into the clay. The clay is incised to create a design.
Recent Examples on the Web The leaves are simple, though sometimes deeply incised. Elizabeth Waddington, Treehugger, 28 Aug. 2023 The Colorado River, whose wild energy incised the canyon over millions of years, is in crisis. Raymond Zhong, New York Times, 6 June 2023 That Bovary is urged on to exceed the ambit of his modest competence by his vain and snobbish wife, Emma—in cahoots with the publicity-seeking pharmacist—adds a layer of situational irony to what constitutes, prima facie, an abuse: Charles incised the skin. Will Self, Harper's Magazine, 12 Sep. 2022 The markings were deeply incised into dolomite rock in locations close to the burials in the Dinaledi Chamber and Hill Antechamber. Kate Wong, Scientific American, 5 June 2023 There is a plication procedure and there are procedures to incise the plaque out. Jeff Forward, Chron, 23 Nov. 2020 Of all the successes among heritage brands, few have exceeded that of the traditional boat shoe with white soles incised in a pattern of chevron grooves. New York Times, 5 Feb. 2020 It was incised on eleven tablets, back and front, with roughly three hundred lines on each tablet. Joan Acocella, The New Yorker, 7 Oct. 2019 Yet humans continue to intrude, as illustrated by Michael Marks’s print of mountaintop-removal mining and Laura Ahola-Young’s drawing, incised into a sea-and-sky scene, of undersea oil-drilling gear. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 6 Sep. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'incise.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle French or Latin; Middle French inciser, from Latin incisus, past participle of incidere, from in- + caedere to cut

First Known Use

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of incise was in 1567

Dictionary Entries Near incise

Cite this Entry

“Incise.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​cise in-ˈsīz How to pronounce incise (audio)
incised; incising
: to cut into : carve, engrave

Medical Definition


transitive verb
in·​cise in-ˈsīz How to pronounce incise (audio) -ˈsīs How to pronounce incise (audio)
incised; incising
: to cut into : make an incision in
incised the swollen tissue

More from Merriam-Webster on incise

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