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1. To cut or divide something into smaller pieces. A noun or pronoun can be used between "carve" and "up." It's tradition for my dad to carve up the turkey. I think the project will feel less daunting if we carve it up into sections and each work on one.
2. To injure or damage someone or something by cutting. A noun or pronoun can be used between "carve" and "up." When that guy punched me in the face, his ring really carved me up. I hope I don't need stiches! That guy really carved up the side of my car when he sideswiped me.
carve someone or something up
to damage someone or something by careless or purposeful cutting (of a person, can be figurative). Someone carved the tabletop up. Who did it and why? The boxer wanted to carve up his opponent.
carve something up
to divide something up, perhaps carelessly. The peace treaty carved the former empire up into several countries. You can't just carve up one country and give the pieces away.
carve up somethingalso carve something up
to divide something into parts The new owner carved up the company and sold off several divisions. Local leaders have carved up the forest and turned the land over to a company that built homes on it.