Etymology
Advertisement
carve (v.)

Middle English kerven (the initial -k- is from influence of Scandinavian forms), from Old English ceorfan (class III strong verb; past tense cearf, past participle corfen) "to cut," also "cut down, slay; cut out," from West Germanic *kerbanan (source also of Old Frisian kerva, Middle Dutch and Dutch kerven, German kerben "to cut, notch"), from PIE root *gerbh- "to scratch," making carve the English cognate of Greek graphein "to write," originally "to scratch" on clay tablets with a stylus.

Once extensively used and the general verb for "to cut;" most senses now have passed to cut (v.) and since 16c.

carve has been restricted to specialized senses such as "cut (solid material) into the representation of an object or a design" (late Old English); "cut (meat, etc.) into pieces or slices" (early 13c.); "produce by cutting" (mid-13c.); "decorate by carving" (late 14c.). Related: Carved; carving. The original strong conjugation has been abandoned, but archaic past-participle adjective carven lingers poetically.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
carving (n.)
c. 1200, "the action of cutting," verbal noun from carve. From late 14c. as "action of carving meat at the table," also "carved work, something carved." Carving-knife is from early 15c.
Related entries & more 
carver (n.)
late 14c. (late 13c. as a surname), "one who carves" (in some sense); agent noun from carve (v.). In a set of dining chairs, the one with the arms, usually at the head of the table (1927), reserved for the one who carves the meat. Meaning "large table-knife" is from 1840.
Related entries & more 
-graphy 
word-forming element meaning "process of writing or recording" or "a writing, recording, or description" (in modern use especially in forming names of descriptive sciences), from French or German -graphie, from Greek -graphia "description of," used in abstract nouns from graphein "write, express by written characters," earlier "to draw, represent by lines drawn," originally "to scrape, scratch" (on clay tablets with a stylus), from PIE root *gerbh- "to scratch, carve" (see carve).
Related entries & more 
crab (n.1)

popular name for a stalk-eyed, short-tailed, ten-legged crustacean, Old English crabba, from a general Germanic root (compare Dutch krab, Old High German krebiz, German Krabbe, Old Norse krabbi "crab"), related to Low German krabben, Dutch krabelen "to scratch, claw," from PIE root *gerbh- "to scratch, carve" (see carve). French crabe (13c.) is from Germanic, probably Old Norse. 

The zodiac constellation name is attested in English from c. 1000; the Crab Nebula (1840), however, is in Taurus, the result of the supernova of 1054, and is so called for its shape. Crab stick "white fish meat dyed to resemble crab and pressed into a stick shape" is by mid-1950s. To catch a crab "fall or be thrown due to a mistake in rowing" is from 1785. The crab-louse (1540s), commonly found in pubic hair, is so called for its shape and appearance. Short form crab for this is from 1840; related: Crabs.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
cut (v.)

c. 1300, "to make, with an edged tool or instrument, an incision in; make incisions for the purpose of dividing into two or more parts; remove by means of a cutting instrument;" of an implement, "have a cutting edge," according to Middle English Compendium from a presumed Old English *cyttan, "since ME has the normal regional variants of the vowel." Others suggest a possible Scandinavian etymology from North Germanic *kut- (source also of Swedish dialectal kuta "to cut," kuta "knife," Old Norse kuti "knife"), or that it is from Old French couteau "knife."

It has largely displaced Old English ceorfan (see carve (v.)), snian, and scieran (see shear). The past participle is also cut, though cutted sometimes has been used since Middle English.

From early 14c. as "to make or fashion by cutting or carving." From c. 1400 as "to intersect or cross." From early 15c. as "abridge or shorten by omitting a part."

Meaning "to wound the sensibilities of" is from 1580s (to cut the heart in the same sense is attested from early 14c.). Sense of "sever connection or relations with" is from 1630s.

Meaning "to be absent without excuse" is British university slang from 1794. Colloquial or slang sense of "move off with directness and rapidity" is from 1580s. Meaning "divide (a deck of cards) at random into parts before the deal" to prevent cheating is from 1530s.

Meaning "to dilute, adulterate" (liquor, etc.) is by 1930. Colloquial sense of "to divide or share" is by 1928, perhaps an image from meat-carving at table. As a director's call to halt recording or performing, by 1931 (in an article about Pete, the bulldog with the black-ringed eye in the Hal Roach studios shorts, who was said to know the word). The sense of "perform, execute" (c. 1600) is in cut capers "frisk about;" cut a dash "make a display."

To cut down is from late 14c. as "to fell;" by 1821 as "to slay" (as with a sword); 1857 as "to curtail." To cut (someone or something) down to size is from 1821 as "reduce to suitable dimensions;" the figurative sense, "reduce to the proper level of importance," is by 1927.

To cut in "enter suddenly and unceremoniously" is from 1610s; sense of "suddenly join in conversation, interrupt" is by 1830. To cut up "cut in pieces" is from 1570s. To cut back is from 1871 as "prune by cutting off shoots," 1913 in cinematography, "return to a previous scene by repeating a part of it," 1943 as "reduce, decrease" (of expenditures, etc.). To cut (something) short "abridge, curtail, interrupt" is from 1540s.

In nautical use to cut a feather (1620s) is to move so fast as to make water foam under the bow. To cut and run (1704) also is originally nautical, "cut cable and set sail immediately," as in an emergency, hence, generally, "to make off suddenly."

To cut the teeth "have the teeth grow through the gums" as an infant is from 1670s. To cut both ways in the figurative sense of "have a good and bad effect" is from c. 1600. To cut loose "set (something) free" is by 1828; intransitive sense "begin to act freely" is by 1909.

Cut it out "remove (something) by or as if by cutting" yielded a figurative use in the command cut it out! "Stop! That's enough!" by 1933. The evolution seems to have begun earlier. A piece attributed to the Chicago Live Stock World that made the rounds in trade publications 1901-02 begins:

When you get 'hot' about something and vow you are going to rip something or somebody up the back—cut it out.
If you feel disposed to try the plan of building yourself up by tearing some one else down—cut it out.

Playing on both senses, it ends with "Should you, after reading this preachy stuff, fear you might forget some of the good advice—cut it out."

Related entries & more 
sculpture (n.)
late 14c., from Latin sculptura "sculpture," from past participle stem of sculpere "to carve, engrave," back-formation from compounds such as exculpere, from scalpere "to carve, cut," from PIE root *skel- (1) "to cut."
Related entries & more 
scalpel (n.)
1742, from Latin scalpellum "a surgical knife," diminutive of scalprum "knife, chisel, tool for scraping or cutting," from scalpere "to carve, cut," related to sculpere "to carve," from PIE root *skel- (1) "to cut."
Related entries & more 
sculptor (n.)
1630s, from Latin sculptor "one who cuts or carves," agent noun from sculpt-, past participle stem of sculpere "to carve" (see sculpture). Fem. form sculptress attested from 1660s.
Related entries & more 
tranche (n.)
c. 1500, from French tranche "a cutting," from trancher, trencher "to cut," Old French trenchier "to cut, carve, slice" (see trench). Economic sense is from 1930.
Related entries & more