: a slit or notch made by a saw or cutting torch
: the width of cut made by a saw or cutting torch

Example Sentences

with a handsaw I made a kerf in the board to mark where I needed to cut
Recent Examples on the Web This reduces bowing and creates a thinner kerf, making pull saws ideal for joints and other fine woodwork. Pierre Tardif, WSJ, 3 June 2021 Begin by ripping and crosscutting the shelves, the sides, the bottom and the top panel from red-oak plywood with a 40-tooth thin-kerf blade in a circular saw. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 26 Sep. 2020 The thin-kerf chain (its teeth are 3/32-inch wide) zips through each cut with smoothness and precision. Roy Berendson, Popular Mechanics, 18 Mar. 2020

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

Word History


Middle English, action of cutting, from Old English cyrf; akin to Old English ceorfan to carve — more at carve

First Known Use

1523, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of kerf was in 1523

Dictionary Entries Near kerf

Cite this Entry

“Kerf.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kerf. Accessed 29 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a slit or notch made by a saw or a cutting torch
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