Meaning of etch in English:


Pronunciation /ɛtʃ/

See synonyms for etch

Translate etch into Spanish


[with object]
  • 1Engrave (metal, glass, or stone) by coating it with a protective layer, drawing on it with a needle, and then covering it with acid to attack the parts the needle has exposed, especially in order to produce prints from it.

    ‘aquatint is a process of achieving tone by etching a metal plate’
    • ‘The masking layer is patterned so as to form a desired arrangement of metal lines by etching the underlying metal layer.’
    • ‘The front layer of glass is etched with a grid pattern on the inside surface to form a template for the liquid crystals.’
    • ‘Most manufacturers offer choices of beveled, etched, and stained glass.’
    • ‘Light can focus atoms into simple patterns for etching carbon-coated gold layers.’
    • ‘A beginner can produce etched glassware and small flat pieces of glass and mirror with no experience.’
    • ‘I experimented with etching copper plates with three different etchants.’
    engrave, carve, inscribe, cut, cut in, incise, chisel, chase, score, notch, imprint, impress, deboss, stamp, print, mark
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    1. 1.1Use the etching process to produce (a print or design)
      ‘the gallery has 12,000 prints engraved and etched by celebrated masters’
      • ‘the image is etched into the metal plate’
      • ‘The early process involved etching a design replicated from a travel book onto a copper plate.’
      • ‘Much controversy still remains regarding the techniques used, but all processes began with etching and/or engraving the desired design on a copperplate.’
      • ‘One submission called for photographs of victims to be etched into glass plates.’
      • ‘Their names had been etched into the glass but the pane was shattered by hooligans who climbed onto scaffolding and kicked in the windows.’
      • ‘My fingers lingered on the smooth leaves etched into the metal as I turned to Adam with a questioning look in my eyes.’
      • ‘I spot the bar's logo, etched onto the plate glass windows.’
      • ‘Printing that picks up ink from lines cut or etched in a metal plate is called intaglio printing.’
      • ‘She uses acid to etch designs into the surface of metal plates, echoing the way that wind and water wear away at stone over time.’
  • 2(of an acid or other solvent) corrode or eat away the surface of (something)

    ‘caustic soda etches glass’
    • ‘tiny droplets in the glaze emulsion were etched away by acid’
    • ‘Marble is much softer than granite and is highly porous, so it's easily etched by acids.’
    • ‘Sections were etched with dilute hydrochloric acid.’
    • ‘In the manufacturing process this copper foil is partly etched away, and the remaining copper forms a network of thin wires.’
    • ‘As a by-product, fungi can produce organic acids that will corrode and etch inorganic materials.’
    • ‘The acid also can etch the surface, which increases the water penetration through the face of the joint.’
    • ‘Then acid etches the rest away, leaving the desired pattern.’
    • ‘The tooth surface is then etched with a gel-like acid to prepare it for an adhesive used to secure the resin composite to the tooth.’
    • ‘All of the crystallized copper was enclosed in calcite, which was etched away with a sulfamic acid solution.’
    • ‘It was hard to tell without removing the wax, but Alex thought that the acid had done its job of etching the blade.’
    • ‘The cream etches the glass within a few seconds.’
    • ‘Hydrofluoric acid is the only solvent you'll find to etch glass.’
    corrode, bite into, eat away, eat into, burn into
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    1. 2.1Selectively dissolve the surface of (a semiconductor or printed circuit) with a solvent, laser, or stream of electrons.
      ‘ballistic electron emission microscopy is used to etch templates for even smaller circuits’
      • ‘One method uses a lapping medium which chemically etches the selected material more aggressively than the surrounding material, resulting in the selected material being recessed from the surface of the transducer.’
      • ‘Until Ishikawa, no one had tried to etch a semiconductor's tiny circuitry onto a curved surface, much less onto a sphere.’
      • ‘A perfect lens would be able to focus light more narrowly than conventional lenses, making it possible to etch finer electronic circuits and create more compact and powerful computer chips.’
      • ‘By shrinking the size of the transistors and other features etched into the silicon, more of the tiny devices can be squeezed onto a single chip.’
      • ‘Chip production involves some pretty noxious substances, such as the decidedly nasty hydrofluoric acid used to etch the silicon wafers.’
      • ‘These are typically made from layers of epoxy-based resin and fibreglass and copper, on which conductive tracts are etched.’
      • ‘And they could play a role in hyper-accurate gyroscopes or help etch superfast computer chips.’
  • 3Cut or carve (a text or design) on a surface.

    ‘her initials were etched on the table flap’
    • ‘The poem will be etched in the memorial stone - a tangible acknowledgement of the loss of life and accompanying grief, says Appleton.’
    • ‘So if you want to remember a date that will be etched in history, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast area August 29th.’
    • ‘The final will be a huge undertaking for a team which could be etched in the annals of history.’
    • ‘Islamic words and passages from the Koran (the sacred text of Islam) are often etched in elaborate calligraphy.’
    • ‘Wednesday 30th September 1984 was such a life-changing day for me that the date has been etched on my memory ever since.’
    • ‘And it's like other dates that you know are going to be etched in our memory forever.’
    • ‘The date it all started is indelibly etched on the former police officer's memory.’
    • ‘On either side of him were tall columns of black stone upon which were etched stories of evil gods and battles from long ago.’
    • ‘The major turned the buckle in his fingers and frowned at the jagged characters etched into the metal.’
    • ‘It was an impressive place, to be sure; the ceiling was high above the floor and intricate designs were etched into the stone and wood.’
    • ‘The design is etched into the gold leaf with a sharp needle-like instrument.’
    • ‘I could take a screwdriver and etch some very interesting designs on your car, but I doubt you would call me an artist.’
    • ‘Public education is a responsibility that is etched into the constitutions or statutes of the states.’
    • ‘The Torah was etched into stone and brought down a mountain.’
    • ‘‘Her nickname was Malva, and that is what is etched onto the glass,’ said Arnot.’
    • ‘Etched inside the shank and barely visible is the jeweller's mark, a delicate snowflake.’
    • ‘The year 1963 is etched in the hearts and minds of many people as the year in which President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.’
    • ‘Guernica is etched in my consciousness as the image of defencelessness, trampled innocence, Franco's savagery.’
    • ‘Miller was the first photojournalist to witness these scenes, and the images she captured are indelibly etched on the public consciousness.’
    • ‘While some actors would resent never being able to shake off their past, John says he is proud to have been responsible for a character who is indelibly etched on the nation's psyche.’
    carve, engrave, incise, etch, score
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    1. 3.1Mark (a surface) with a carved text or design.
      ‘a Pictish stone etched with mysterious designs’
      • ‘her face was etched with tiredness’
      • ‘Its surface was etched with carvings and hieroglyphics, dating back to the dawn of the world itself.’
      • ‘The great claymore shone in all its glory, its black and gold hilt, intricately etched with the markings of the society.’
      • ‘Standing at the centre of the memorial are six large basalt obelisks etched with the names of all the countries where Australians have been held prisoner of war.’
      • ‘Where needed, precast concrete panel walls are erected, etched with images of local wildlife.’
      • ‘They also vandalized three fast-food restaurants by etching the glass.’
      carve, inscribe, cut, cut in, incise, chisel, chase, score, etch, imprint, impress, print, mark
      View synonyms
    2. 3.2Cause to stand out or be clearly defined or visible.
      ‘the outline of the town was etched against the sky’
      • ‘When the team reflect upon this defeat, two questions will be etched in their minds.’
      • ‘But, for the staff and patients who had the chance of a lifetime to speak to Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh, it was a moment that will be etched on their memories forever.’
      • ‘One sobering statistic that will be forever etched in my mind is that over 3,000 children lost a mother or father on that fateful day.’
      • ‘Ironically, September 19th, 2003, is etched in the memory of most local people for a completely different reason.’
      • ‘I'll never forget what happened in Sydney last year, that's etched in my mind forever.’
      • ‘Joy was etched on their young faces as they danced to the music, passed the parcel and ate prettily-decorated cakes.’
      • ‘Lines of concern, however, were etched into his handsome face, framed by a luxurious mane of shoulder length light brown hair.’
      • ‘But the events which unfolded on the afternoon of January 14 will be forever etched in the memories of all those involved.’
      • ‘It was a wonderful game that will forever be etched in the memory.’
      • ‘Wednesday, April 11 th 2001 will forever be etched in my memory as one of the best days of my life.’
      • ‘The times I have been able to spend with you will always be etched in my memory.’
      • ‘The trials and tribulations that the college faced and the tortuous path it traversed are deeply etched in the memories of those who are associated with it.’
      • ‘I still remember the hurt that was etched on his face as he tried to come to terms with the defeat and more particularly, the manner of that defeat.’
      • ‘Many memories were lost or left behind that day, but some are indelibly etched on the minds of the islanders forever.’
      • ‘The horror of what followed is permanently etched on countless memories.’
      • ‘The Old Man of Storr is etched against a cloudy sky.’
      • ‘In one vast flash of light, equal to 100 suns, the buildings are etched against a sky of fire.’
      • ‘What they achieved during this summer will be forever etched in the history of the club.’
      • ‘His eyes stare dully from a pinched little face etched with pain and suffering.’
      • ‘Anna ran in the room, her face etched with lines of worry.’
      • ‘‘I thought you were different,’ he said, his features etched with disappointment.’
      outline, etch, delineate, define, demarcate, delimit, mark off, trace
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    3. 3.3be etched(of an experience, image, etc.) be permanently fixed in someone's memory.
      • ‘the events remain etched in the minds of all who witnessed them’


mass noun
  • The action or process of etching something.

    ‘semiconductor production processes such as plasma etch’
    • ‘acetic acid gives a more selective etch’
    • ‘Jim continued to run his fingers over the artifact, exploring each etch and nick.’
    • ‘These solutions are available from several manufacturers in different strengths to achieve the required depth of etch and a finish that meets the original specification.’
    • ‘The chips are encoded by generating nanometer-thick layers of porous films on the wafers using a special electrochemical etch.’
    • ‘It's a simple technique: put the carbon paper where you want your etch, take the line drawing, and use a pen to trace over it.’
    • ‘Sandblasting allows better control of the depth of the etch.’
    • ‘By using retarding agents of different strengths within the same panel, decorative features can be created by varying the depth of the etch on elements of a pattern or design.’


Mid 17th century from Dutch etsen, from German ätzen, from a base meaning ‘cause to eat’; related to eat.