v. etched, etch·ing, etch·es
a. To cut into the surface of (glass, for example) by the action of acid, especially by coating the surface with wax or another protective layer and drawing lines with a needle and then using the acid to form the lines on the unprotected parts of the surface.
b. To make or create by this method: etch a design on glass.
a. To draw or write by cutting or scraping: etched his initials in the metal.
b. To cut or scrape something in or on: etched the metal with a knife.
3. To impress or delineate clearly: a landscape that is forever etched in my memory; trees that are etched against the sky.
To engage in etching.
[Dutch etsen, from German ätzen, from Middle High German etzen, from Old High German ezzen, to eat; see ed- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.