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From Dutch etsen (“to etch”), from German ätzen (“to etch”), from Old High German azzon (“to cause to bite or feed”), from Proto-Germanic *atjaną, causative of *etaną (“to eat”) (whence also English eat).
- To cut into a surface with an acid or other corrosive substance in order to make a pattern. Best known as a technique for creating printing plates, but also used for decoration on metal, and, in modern industry, to make circuit boards.
- To engrave a surface.
- (figuratively) To make a lasting impression.
- The memory of 9/11 is etched into my mind.
- To sketch; to delineate.
- a. 1705, John Locke, “Of the Conduct of the Understanding”, in Posthumous Works of Mr. John Locke: […], London: […] A[wnsham] and J[ohn] Churchill, […], published 1706, OCLC 6963663:
- There are many such empty terms to be found in some learned writers, to which they had recourse to etch out their system.
to make a lasting impression
- Obsolete form of .
- 1707, J[ohn] Mortimer, The Whole Art of Husbandry; or, The Way of Managing and Improving of Land. […], 2nd edition, London: […] J[ohn] H[umphreys] for H[enry] Mortlock […], and J[onathan] Robinson […], published 1708, OCLC 13320837:
- Black Oats are commonly sown upon an Etch Crop, or on a Lay which they plow up in January, when the Earth is moist, taking care to turn the Turf well, and to lay it even and flat.