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the act of fashioning or producing by cutting into or shaping solid material, as wood.
a carved design or figure.
to cut (a solid material) so as to form something:
to carve a piece of pine.
to form from a solid material by cutting:
to carve a statue out of stone.
to cut into slices or pieces, as a roast of meat.
to decorate with designs or figures cut on the surface:
The top of the box was beautifully carved with figures of lions and unicorns.
to cut (a design, figures, etc.) on a surface:
Figures of lions and unicorns were carved on the top of the box.
to make or create for oneself (often followed by out):
He carved out a career in business.
to carve figures, designs, etc.
to cut meat.
Contemporary Examples

Fly, Ravens, Fly Baltimore capitalized on the James fumble, carving up the vaunted 49er defense with a mixture of run and pass.
15 Best Moments of the 2013 Super Bowl (VIDEO) Ben Teitelbaum February 3, 2013

The hoax was quickly uncovered and Todd admitted to carving up her own face (in the mirror, hence the backward B).
10 Craziest Media Hoaxes The Daily Beast Video October 16, 2009

As I well recall, carving an extra $100 out of that is not easy.
Are Young, Single Adults Expecting Obamacare to Cost So Much? Megan McArdle June 3, 2013

carving forks, to hold meat down as it is cut, are medieval.
The Strange Way We Eat: Bee Wilson’s ‘Consider the Fork’ Bee Wilson October 12, 2012

In the carving, the temple is depicted with a classical pediment front and a colonnade of columns supporting the structure.
Iraq’s Long-Lost Mythical Temple Has Been Found…and Is In Danger of Disappearing Again Nina Strochlic July 23, 2014

Historical Examples

But in reality she would as soon have thought of breaking into society as of attacking twelve policemen with a carving knife.
Gargoyles Ben Hecht

In carving a pike, if the back and belly be slit up, and each slice drawn gently downwards, fewer bones will be given at table.
The Cook and Housekeeper’s Complete and Universal Dictionary; Including a System of Modern Cookery, in all Its Various Branches, Mary Eaton

The carving consists of various scriptural subjects in low relief; it is now much worn.
Bell’s Cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of Lincoln A. F. Kendrick

Cf. the carving on the jambs of the Allah-ud-din gate at Delhi.
Portuguese Architecture Walter Crum Watson

Some of the spears and war-clubs which they offered for sale showed much delicacy and skill, both in the design and carving.
Under the Southern Cross Maturin M. Ballou

a figure or design produced by carving stone, wood, etc related adjective glyptic
(transitive) to cut or chip in order to form something: to carve wood
to decorate or form (something) by cutting or chipping: to carve statues
to slice (meat) into pieces: to carve a turkey

c.1200, verbal noun from carve.

Old English ceorfan (class III strong verb; past tense cearf, past participle corfen) “to cut, cut down, slay; to carve, cut out, engrave,” from West Germanic *kerfan (cf. Old Frisian kerva, Middle Dutch and Dutch kerven, German kerben “to cut, notch”), from PIE root *gerbh- “to scratch,” making carve the English cognate of Greek graphein “to write,” originally “to scratch” on clay tablets with a stylus.

Once extensively used, most senses now usurped by cut (v.). Meaning specialized to sculpture, meat, etc., by 16c. Related: Carved; carving. Original strong conjugation has been abandoned, but archaic carven lingers.


To give one a thrill; send: He carves me. Does he carve you? (1930s+ Jive talk)

The arts of engraving and carving were much practised among the Jews. They were practised in connection with the construction of the tabernacle and the temple (Ex. 31:2, 5; 35:33; 1 Kings 6:18, 35; Ps. 74:6), as well as in the ornamentation of the priestly dresses (Ex. 28:9-36; Zech. 3:9; 2 Chr. 2:7, 14). Isaiah (44:13-17) gives a minute description of the process of carving idols of wood.


Read Also:

  • Carving-knife

    a large, sharp knife for carving or slicing meat. Historical Examples I can’t find a thing where it ought to be, though I have hunted high and low for that carving-knife. Elam Storm, The Wolfer Harry Castlemon “But she sent a carving-knife at me first,” said the heartbroken husband. Burlesques William Makepeace Thackeray “I have,” […]

  • Carving-fork

    a fork used in carving meat, commonly having two long tines and, at the base of the handle, a projection on which to rest the forefinger and thumb. Historical Examples The father talked so much that his daughter Edith took the carving-fork from him and served out the mutton-chops herself. A Bicycle of Cathay Frank […]

  • Carwash

    a place or structure having special equipment for washing automobiles. the washing of an automobile: The service station is offering free car washes to draw customers.

  • Caryatid

    a sculptured female figure used as a column. Compare atlas (def 5). Historical Examples Jean Valjean, who was present, supported the caryatid with his shoulder, and gave the workmen time to arrive. Les Misrables Victor Hugo The one on this side is resigned, and as beautiful as a caryatid. Rodin: The Man and his Art […]

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