carve(redirected from carves)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Related to carves: carves 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
cast in stone
Permanently fixed or firmly established; not subject to any amendment or alteration. Often used in the negative. The deal isn't yet cast in stone, but we're confident it will go ahead as hoped.
written in stone
Permanently fixed or firmly established; incapable of being changed. Often used in the negative. The deal isn't yet written in stone, but we're confident it will go ahead as hoped.
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.
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?
carve something in stone
Fig. to fix some idea permanently. No one has carved this one approach in stone; we have several options.
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.
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.
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.
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.
carved in stoneand 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?
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
carve a nicheor
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.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
be carved (or set or written) in stonebe 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).
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.
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.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer