Daniel López

Senior Member
The WRF dictionary accepts "etch" as:

2.(transitive) to cut with or as if with a sharp implement: he etched his name on the table

So, can it be used as a synonym for carve/engrave? Or just for engraving with acids/laser beams?

Thank you.
  • Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    Neither etch nor engrave is a real synonym for carve. Michelangelo carved the Pieta, but he did not etch or engrave it.

    I would say that the WRF dictionary definition is not correct; etching is cutting done with acids or laser beams, but not with sharp implements.
    I think 'etch' more often implies some special, precise method; as you say, lasers, acids, etc.

    Carve is a general term, that often goes with knife, but can be quite loose, as in "The kid carved his pieces of watermelon with a spoon."

    Engraving that I've seen uses a special tool, or technique.
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