Definition of etch in English:

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Pronunciation: /eCH/


[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: (as adjective etched) etched glass windows
More example sentences
  • 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.
1.1Use the etching process to produce (a print or design).
Example sentences
  • 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.
1.2(Of an acid or other solvent) corrode or eat away the surface of (something).
Example sentences
  • 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.
1.3Selectively dissolve the surface of (a semiconductor or printed circuit) with a solvent, laser, or stream of electrons.
Example sentences
  • 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.
2Cut or carve (a text or design) on a surface: her initials were etched on the table figurative his name is etched in baseball history
More example sentences
  • 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.
2.1Mark (a surface) with a carved text or design: a Pictish stone etched with mysterious designs figurative her face was etched with tiredness
More example sentences
  • 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.
2.2Cause to stand out or be clearly defined or visible: Jo watched the outline of the town etched against the sky (as adjective etched) her finely etched profile
More example sentences
  • 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.
2.3 (be 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


The action or process of etching something.
Example sentences
  • 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.



Pronunciation: /ˈeCHər/
Example sentences
  • Walter Richard Sickert, the German-born painter and etcher who lived from 1860 until 1942, was a student of James McNeil Whistler and a disciple of Edgar Degas.
  • From 1904 he also gave up printmaking (he was one of the greatest etchers of his time and also made some lithographs).
  • The spring show of the James Gallery in Dalkey offers the chance to see the work of an artist acknowledged as one of the greatest etchers in art history.


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

  • This is from Dutch etsen, from German ätzen, from a base meaning ‘cause to eat’. This type of engraving is done by ‘eating away’ the surface of metals, glass, and stone, by the application of acid.

Words that rhyme with etch

fetch, ketch, kvetch, lech, outstretch, retch, sketch, stretch, vetch, wretch

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: etch

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