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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
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References in classic literature ?
No, what was sad in his case was that he, who didn't care for carved oak, should have his drawing-room panelled with it, while people who do care for it have to pay enormous prices to get it.
It's all in preparation for that one night of the year when goblins, witches, and ballerinas flock to see his ghoulish display of carved pumpkins--35- to 40-pound creations that come alive with an eerie glow.
Simplicity was emphasized because a 2" x 1 1/2" (5 cm x 4 cm) carved format was not the place to attempt an intricate design.
While the grand shape of the carved creatures and much of the detail is produced by cutting out bits of wood in precise shapes, some is also accomplished by wood burning and by as many as 14 coats of thin paint, Mr.
Also included in Edmondson's visionary output (every work he ever carved was in fact inspired by what he experienced as very literal, very palpable God-given visions) were a number of secular works.
Over the next 1.5 million years, Meek suggests, the resulting flow carved much of the Grand Canyon and other gorges in eastern Arizona.
Chainsaw specialist Michael Tamoszus carved up another glorious success at Carrbridge in the Highlands at the weekend.
First spotted by Charnwood Council's Green Spaces development manager, Adam Goodall, the name "Harry" has been found, carved in large letters, some 10ft up, on one of the trunks of a large tree opposite the Children's Play area on Holt Drive.
Speaking on the occasion, Asif Javed Shah Jahan, a Pride of the Performance researcher and former DG Capital Development Authority (CDA) introduced various dimensions of the rich Pakistani handicraft and woodwork carved by the young artisans.
Despite its expense (because its price is prohibitive even in Spain) it makes a great addition to a party because an eight-kilogram leg serves up to 120 people if carved correctly-- the perfect ratio of lean meat to fat sized a little smaller than a credit card, and almost translucent.
'During the training, we carved jamon all day and were exposed to the entire production process of jamon Iberico de bellota,' the brothers recalled.
Shops selling wooden religious icons and other carved items also abound.
Once a month, Rebels Halo Glass Art will draw a name from submitted entries and contact the person by phone or email to obtain their Fallen Hero's information that they would like carved with the image.
Artists of Sillanwali, he said, are producing very charming and fascinating handicrafts of sissoo (sheesham) wood mostly used for decorative proposes.Craft-men of Sillanwali are manufactured fruit baskets, bowels, dry fruit serving plates, flower vases, carved, lacquered furniture, and table lamps and a complete range of wall decors, he added.
Relief carving is a form of sculpture in which a flat piece of wood is carved to reveal the illusion of a three-dimensional form.