Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to carve: Carve out
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!

be carved in stone

To be made permanent, typically of a plan or idea. We might get brunch next weekend, but nothing is carved in stone yet.
See also: carve, stone

carve (out) a niche

To establish a unique role (for oneself), usually by excelling in a very specific area. I was able to carve out a niche at the farmers' market by selling something no one else was—dried beans. Our graphic designer really carved out a niche for himself with that series of innovative ads.
See also: carve, niche

carve (something) from (something)

To use a knife or other tool to carve a block or mass of some material, typically wood, into a desired shape. I'm always so impressed by artisans that can carve animal figures from blocks of wood.
See also: carve

carve (something) in stone

To make something permanent and incapable of being changed, typically a plan or idea. We might get brunch next weekend, but we haven't carved anything in stone yet.
See also: carve, stone

carve (something) into (something)

1. To etch something into a particular surface or material. Don't carve your initials into your desk unless you want to get detention.
2. To use a knife or other tool to carve a block of some material, typically wood, into a desired shape. I'm always so impressed by artisans that can carve blocks of wood into beautiful animal figures.
See also: carve

carve out

1. Literally, to remove the inner part of an object. A noun or pronoun can be used between "carve" and "out." The first step in this recipe is to carve out your fruit and dispose of the seeds. They made canoes by carving out big logs.
2. To establish a niche or role for oneself. A noun or pronoun can be used between "carve" and "out." It took a long time, and many small acting parts, before I was able to carve out a career as a character actor.
3. To take or obtain a portion of something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "carve" and "out." I decided to invest in their unique product because I could see it carving out a chunk of the tech market in the near future.
See also: carve, out

carve up

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.
See also: carve, up

carved in stone

Permanently fixed or firmly established; incapable of being changed. Often used in the negative. The deal isn't yet carved in stone, but we're confident it will go ahead as hoped.
See also: carve, stone
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.
See also: carve, up

carve something from something

to shape by cutting something off or out of something with a knife. Can you carve an elephant from a bar of soap?
See also: carve

carve something in stone

Fig. to fix some idea permanently. No one has carved this one approach in stone; we have several options.
See also: carve, stone

carve something into something

1. and carve something in to cut letters or symbols into something. He carved his initials into a tree. He carved in the letters one by one.
2. to create a carved object by sculpturing raw material. Ken carved the apple into a tiny snowman.
See also: carve

carve something out

to hollow something out by carving; to make something hollow by carving. Can he carve a bowl out of such soft wood? He carved out the bowl of the pipe and then began to sand it.
See also: carve, out

carve something out (of something)

to remove something from the inside of something else by carving or cutting. She carved the insides out. She carved out the insides of the pumpkin.
See also: carve, out

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.
See also: carve, up

carved in stone

 and engraved in stone; written in stone
Fig. permanent or not subject to change. (Often in the negative.) Now, this isn't carved in stone yet, but this looks like the way it's going to be. Is this policy carved in stone, or can it still be modified?
See also: carve, stone
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

carve a niche


carve out a niche

COMMON If you carve a niche or carve out a niche for yourself, you create a role or opportunity for yourself, especially at work, by doing a particular thing very well. In time, he carved a niche for himself as a television commentator. Some have carved out a niche in New York City's highly competitive art market, charging as much as $40,000 for their pictures. Note: A niche is a hollow area that is made in a wall to display something such as a statue or an ornament.
See also: carve, niche
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

be carved (or set or written) in stone

be fixed and unchangeable.
The reference here is to the biblical Ten Commandments, written on tablets of stone by God and handed down to Moses on Mount Sinai (Genesis 31:18).
See also: carve, stone
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

be carved/set in ˈstone

(of a decision, plan, etc.) unable to be changed: People should remember that our proposals aren’t carved in stone.
See also: carve, set, stone
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

in stone, cast/carved/written

Completely set, unchangeable. This phrase is often put in the negative—something is not cast in stone. It alludes to sculpture, where to cast means to pour and harden a material into a final form, and possibly also to the epitaphs engraved on gravestones. The first usage dates from the early 1500s. Most often it appears in such statements as, “Of course we can change it; this proposal is not cast in stone.”
See also: carve, cast, written
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
That's probably the most rewarding part of this for me, to see a kid who actually listens and takes it upon himself to carve a pumpkin.
"I worked hard to earn this retirement so I can just carve what I want to carve," he said.
At the McKenzie River Chainsaw and Arts Festival, carvers will complete daily quick carves in less than two hours.
John Kofoed from Norway saw my work and sent me his .500 A-Square all the way from Norway to carve a buffalo with scrolls and a baobab tree.
He blamed the setback in the wood carving craft on Malaysian, Egyptian and Chinese industries which export machines to carve wood for a lower cost, warning that this might prove lethal to his craft.
Although a variety of plans are used to fund a group carve out, the more popular include Executive Equity (chart, page 227) and Split-Dollar Insurance (chart, page 235).
That said, it does the job and, if all you will use it for is to carve the Christmas roast, then this is the one for you.
1 Carve off the thighs (with legs attached) and the wings; set aside.
So the Aesir set a competition, and Baldr took to Dragvandil a mountain and told him to sculpt with it, while Freyia took to Laeti a great elm tree and told him to carve from it.
This includes the book, a pre-sharpened Murphy carving knife, leather strop and abrasive to keep it sharp, sharpening instructions, basswood to carve on in the forms of a shoe blank, dog blank, two three-piece Nativity set blanks (step-by-step instructions for carving all of these), a #9 x 5/16" gouge, and a 5/32" 'V' tool.
Insurers use it to provide a nonqualified benefit to executives they "carve out" of the group term-life employee pool.
AARP has stated that it believes the carve out would "significantly worsen solvency," and that both approaches would require some reduction in program benefits or a tax increase--or both.
From a block of wood, I can tell more or less what I am going to do." (6) With the chosen wood in hand, he then begins to meditate and study it in order to reinforce and clarify within himself what he wishes to carve. Feelings and emotions play a central role in the creation, production, and interpretation of Juan Sandoval's work.
It was also technologically very advanced, both in its ability to carve elaborate buildings OUt of cliffs and to engineer a water system that allowed a city full of gardens to flourish in the middle of a desert.