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

Examples of kerf in a Sentence

with a handsaw I made a kerf in the board to mark where I needed to cut
Recent Examples on the Web Make the first pass on all four posts, adjust the saw’s fence, and then make additional passes until the kerfs are formed. Paul Steiner, Popular Mechanics, 24 Mar. 2023 Next, cut kerfs for the splines in the corner posts and side pieces. Paul Steiner, Popular Mechanics, 24 Mar. 2023 Mark the kerf on the end grain of a post. Paul Steiner, Popular Mechanics, 24 Mar. 2023 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'kerf.' 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 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 25 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


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