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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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.