Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To divide into pieces by cutting; slice: carved a roast.
  • transitive v. To divide by parceling out: carve up an estate.
  • transitive v. To cut into a desired shape; fashion by cutting: carve the wood into a figure.
  • transitive v. To make or form by or as if by cutting: carve initials in the bark; carved out an empire.
  • transitive v. To decorate by cutting and shaping carefully.
  • intransitive v. To engrave or cut figures as an art, hobby, or trade.
  • intransitive v. To disjoint, slice, and serve meat or poultry.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To cut.
  • v. To cut meat in order to serve it.
  • v. To shape to sculptural effect.
  • v. To perform a series of turns without pivoting, so that the tip and tail of the snowboard take the same path.
  • v. To produce something using skill.
  • n. A carucate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A carucate.
  • intransitive v. To exercise the trade of a sculptor or carver; to engrave or cut figures.
  • intransitive v. To cut up meat.
  • transitive v. To cut.
  • transitive v. To cut, as wood, stone, or other material, in an artistic or decorative manner; to sculpture; to engrave.
  • transitive v. To make or shape by cutting, sculpturing, or engraving; to form.
  • transitive v. To cut into small pieces or slices, as meat at table; to divide for distribution or apportionment; to apportion.
  • transitive v. To cut: to hew; to mark as if by cutting.
  • transitive v. To take or make, as by cutting; to provide.
  • transitive v. To lay out; to contrive; to design; to plan.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cut with an edged tool or sharp instrument.
  • Specifically — To cut into pieces or slices, as meat at table; divide by cutting, or, figuratively, by parceling out: as, to carve a fowl; to carve up an estate.
  • To cut (some solid material) in order to produce the representation of an object or a design; fashion by cutting: as, to carve a block of marble into a statue.
  • To produce by cutting; form by cutting or hewing; grave or engrave; sculpture: as, to carve an image; to carve a design in boxwood.
  • To decorate by carving; produce cut or sculptured designs upon: as, to carve, a capital; to carve a cherry-stone.
  • To mark as with carving.
  • To carve out. To make or form by carving or parceling; cut out: as, to carve out a smaller estate from a larger one.
  • Figuratively, to achieve by exertion or skill: as, to carve out a career for one's self.
  • To exercise the trade of a carver; engrave or cut figures.
  • To cut up meat: as, to carve for all the guests.
  • To carve for one's self, to do as one pleases; act independently.
  • To grow sour; curdle: said of cream.
  • To make a private sign to, at table. See II., 3.
  • To make a private sign with the little finger at table, as when one carves (def. II., 2) or pretends to carve, or raises a glass to one's lips.
  • n. See carue.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. cut to pieces
  • v. engrave or cut by chipping away at a surface
  • v. form by carving

Etymologies

Middle English kerven, from Old English ceorfan.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English kerven, from Old English ċeorfan, from Proto-Germanic *kerbanan (cf. West Frisian kerve, Dutch kerven, German kerben ‘to notch’), from Proto-Indo-European *gerebh- ‘to scratch’ (cf. Old Prussian gīrbin ‘number’, Old Church Slavonic žrĕbĭjĭ ‘lot, tallymark’, Ancient Greek γράφειν (gráphein) ‘to scratch, etch’). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The unsecured creditors may use that so-called carve-out to cover such expenses as attorneys 'fees or as a supplement to what the company will repay them upon its exit from bankruptcy protection.

    Junior Creditors Get Their Due

  • Come here, and let us teach you to behave properly; you will not have to carve, that is done at the side-table.

    The History of Pendennis

  • Fiercely protective of their own place in the presidential nominating process, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada - known as the "carve out states" - would almost certainly push their dates into January in response to Florida's move.

    ABC News: Top Stories

  • After 2000, however, exceptions otherwise known as carve-outs to M.A.C. clauses began to creep in.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Managers also are pursuing so-called carve-outs, or divestitures from larger corporations.

    Bloomberg

  • Key regulators are concerned that if the IASB - working in partnership with US standard setter FASB ­ fails to deliver it will give European politicians, notably the French, the opportunity to insist, through the European Commission, that European banks can ignore key elements ­ a so called carve out ­ of IFRS when accounting for derivatives.

    The most recent articles from Accountancy Age

  • I think he's trying to kind of carve out his own territory.

    CNN Transcript May 10, 2006

  • She has some things to work out on her own, and kind of carve out a professional and personal life in D.C. HEMMER: So how much of the plot did you carve out based on your own life?

    CNN Transcript Sep 9, 2004

  • They'll just kind of carve around it and that way he's just eked out.

    CNN Transcript Jul 20, 2001

  • Mr. Dana denied that Mr. Karlen was supposed to "carve" Mr. Murray and Mr. Strawberry with the piece.

    Ex- Rolling Stone Writer Neal Karlen Gets Revenge on Jann Wenner

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