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etched in stone

Permanently fixed or firmly established; not subject to any amendment or alteration. Often used in the negative. The deal isn't yet etched in stone, but we're confident it will go ahead as hoped.
See also: etch, stone

etch something in(to) something

 and etch something in
to erode a design or message into something, usually with acid. They etched their family crest into their good crystal. He etched in his initials.
See also: etch

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 ?
4a shows a flake graphite specimen etched with 4% nital.
Similar etched patterns also remove the colored fringes often seen around images made by inexpensive lenses.
Chip designers can sculpt complicated layers of metal and semiconductor circuitry through repeated maskings with etched photoresists.
The 901e system was selected following an extensive evaluation of etched device wafers performed by the tool.
Lam pioneered single-wafer plasma etch tools in 1982 with its first product, the Lam AutoEtch(R) plasma etcher, which etched features of 1-2 microns in size.
The unique chamber design ensures that films on both sides of the wafer are simultaneously etched in the chemical dry etching environment, two wafers at a time in a single chambered system, and as many as four wafers at a time in a dual chambered system.
Elaborating on this, Hugh explains, "sandblasting requires machinery and has the disadvantage of showing fingerprints on the finished etched pattern.
This allows each wafer to be etched with identical conditions inside the chamber, so wafer-to-wafer and chamber-to-chamber repeatability is maximized.