General English


  • verb to attack with a knife, to slash or cut (someone). From the vernacular of thugs, street gangs and professional criminals.


  • verb to cut up meat and poultry at the table or in the kitchen for service to the table

Origin & History of “carve”

Originally, carve meant simply ‘cut’. that sense died out in the 16th century, leaving the more specialized ‘cut or incise decoratively’ and later ‘cut up meat at table’. Related words in other Germanic languages, such as Dutch kerven, point to a prehistoric west Germanic *kerfan, which is probably ultimately linked to Greek gráphein ‘write’ (source of English graphic), whose original notion was ‘scratch or incise on a surface’.