cast in stone

cast in stone

Also, etched in stone. Definite, fixed, as in We may choose to stay longer-our plans aren't cast in stone, or When Carl sets an agenda you can safely assume it's etched in stone. Both expressions allude to sculpture, with the first, from the early 1500s, using the verb cast in the sense of pouring and hardening some material into a final form, and the second cutting or corroding a permanent design.
See also: cast, stone
References in periodicals archive ?
Instead of shying away from the scale of the atrocity--be it a killing field, a battlefield, the site of a massacre or in this case the site of a former Nazi death camp--such monuments reuse often vast areas of land in an attempt to freeze history, cast in stone the scale of lost life, and to make something strangely beautiful and moving from something that derives from absolute evil.