Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Kerf


Collecting resin: a pot pitched between a nail and a kerf in a tree.
A schematic drawing of a saw blade looking head-on: the divergence between the teeth that protrude left-and-right is the kerf, it defines the width of the saw cut.


From Middle English kerf, kirf, kyrf, from Old English cyrf (an act of cutting, a cutting off; a cutting instrument), from Proto-Germanic *kurbiz (a cut; notch), from Proto-Indo-European *gerbʰ- (to scratch).



kerf (plural kerfs)

  1. The groove or slit created by cutting a workpiece; an incision.
    • 1999, Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon:
      They pass through a cleft that has been made across a low range of hills, like a kerf in the top of a log, and enter into a lovely territory of subtly swelling emerald green fields strewn randomly with small white capsules that he takes to be sheep.
  2. The width of the groove made while cutting with a saw or laser.
    • 1991, Popular Mechanics, January issue, page 63, "Thin-kerf blades", by Rosario Capotostro
      Sawing with a thin-kerf blade produces a kerf that's 1/2 to 1/3 the size of a standard blade kerf.
  3. The distance between diverging saw teeth.
  4. The portion of hay, turf, wool, etc. yielded by a single cut or shearing stroke.

Related terms[edit]



kerf (third-person singular simple present kerfs, present participle kerfing, simple past and past participle kerfed)

  1. To cut a piece of wood or other material with several kerfs to allow it to be bent.


  • kerf in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911 (Supplement)






  1. first-person singular present indicative of kerven
  2. imperative of kerven