Definition of carve in English:

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Pronunciation: /kärv/


[with object]
1Cut (a hard material) in order to produce an aesthetically pleasing object or design: the wood was carved with runes (as adjective carved) bookcases of carved oak
More example sentences
  • It's an attractive building, dark carved wood contrasting with the white sand.
  • The lavish silk upholstery and carved wood and ivory in the ‘palace on wheels’ make the current Royal train look austere by comparison.
  • The exhibition features a stunning array of sculpture, using welded metal, carved wood, ceramics and experimental media.
1.1Produce (an object) by cutting and shaping a hard material: the altar was carved from a block of solid jade
More example sentences
  • Next to them, several workers were carefully fine tuning the gongs to their designated tones, while the rest of the workers were carving intricate designs on wooden gong holders.
  • Students are now ready to carve their designs into their linoleum blocks and make their test prints on paper.
  • I think it's unfair to call it a ‘fake’ since we don't know who carved the inscription or why.
1.2Produce (an inscription or design) by cutting into hard material: an inscription was carved over the doorway figurative the river carved a series of gorges into the plain
2Cut (cooked meat) into slices for eating.
Example sentences
  • Using a sharp knife, carve the fillet into wafer thin slices.
  • Let stand for 5 minutes before carving the meat off the upright carcass.
  • The food fares well in terms of freshness, quantity and effort, and there's a made-to-order pasta bar and a station where roast beef is carved before your eyes.
2.1Cut (a slice of meat) from a larger piece.
Example sentences
  • I will also, immediately get images in my mind of loads of tall guys, with floppy fringes, carving thin slices of swan.
  • He carved a slice of baked ham for a wispy, black child with large hungry eyes.
  • It was then served by slices being carved from it and being served… with the boar's head!
3 Skiing Make (a turn) by tilting one’s skis on to their edges and using one’s weight to bend them so that they slide into an arc.
Example sentences
  • A descent is a source of amusement to my wife, the graceful one; she likes to watch me carve turns.
  • But when you pick up a little speed and you lean over, you carve a big turn.
  • Turning away from the cairn and the bearded men in luminous jackets gathered about it, we stepped into our skis and pushed off, carving the first turns of our long, final descent.

Phrasal verbs


carve something out

1Take something from a larger whole, especially with difficulty: carving out a 5 percent share of the overall vote
More example sentences
  • But since it's difficult to carve a conspiracy theory out of events as straightforward as those, he chooses to misrepresent what occurred.
  • A casualty of the post-war mania for partitioning flats, the space had been carved up into claustrophobic rooms.
  • Train services were carved up into 25 franchises and offered to new companies on seven-year contracts.
2Establish or create something through painstaking effort: he managed to carve out a successful photographic career for himself
More example sentences
  • Paramount Classics was created and carved a niche out for itself in the manically frugal Jon Dolgen era where they did as was demanded of them… they earned a decent return on investment and never lost the company money.
  • At half-time yesterday, you would have been hard pressed to find anyone at Malleny Park who would have bet money on Boroughmuir carving a win out of this match.
  • This idea of the rugged individualist, the person who takes care of business on their own, has their own gun and protects their own family and carves a life out of the wilderness.

carve someone up

informal Slash someone with a knife or other sharp object.
Example sentences
  • Actually, his relatives seem more interested in carving her up with a knife - and Daniel along with her.
  • I'll go straight to wherever you're lying, asleep, and use that knife to carve you up.
  • They're standing out there with long knives, waiting to carve you up and you had to justify everything you said.

carve something up

Divide something ruthlessly into separate areas or domains: West Africa was carved up by the Europeans
More example sentences
  • But specifically it was an inheritance from a time when straight talk was impossible: the century and a half or more of the Partition when the country was carved up between Russia, Prussia and Austria.
  • The process is driven by an elite group of territorial politicians who don't want to share power, but to take it and selfishly carve it up.
  • After the campaign ended Lawrence returned to England to promote the cause of Arab independence, but to his dismay the region was carved up between the world powers.


Old English ceorfan 'cut, carve'; related to Dutch kerven.

Words that rhyme with carve

Algarve, calve, grave, Graves, halve, Slav, starve, suave, Zouave

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: carve

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