Definition of incise in English:



[WITH OBJECT]usually be incised
  • 1Mark or decorate (an object or surface) with a cut or a series of cuts.

    ‘a button incised with a skull’
    • ‘During a performance, Hebert sits at a table frantically incising his expressive, jagged marks into the emulsion of a narrow strip of film, reflecting the situation of every worker who has ever had to keep up with the pace of a machine.’
    • ‘I shaped a bird of sorts on the handle and incised Somare's totem on the blade.’
    • ‘Many horns were decorated with cast or incised metal mounts.’
    • ‘The scene is incised on the fleshlike inner surface of the shell, itself doubled in its own representation.’
    • ‘As the painting emerges from the alternate scumbling and glazing of the surface, Gobhai marks in his definitive lines, drawing and sometimes incising them with a burnishing tool.’
    • ‘The surface is incised by the major rivers and their tributaries and is therefore not continuous across the entire region.’
    • ‘At the entrance to the road to the furthest hill stands a big bluestone tablet on which is incised, ‘Ancient Longzhong’ with a couplet on both sides.’
    • ‘Heech Tablet, melding architectural form and geometric abstraction, extends this conceit using a bronze slab whose surface is incised with rows of small rectangles meant to evoke a cuneiform inscription.’
    • ‘Some of the galleries had incised lines cut into the wall, perhaps tally marks, or identification symbols.’
    • ‘At least two storage jars are known that have been incised in script indicating ownership or intended contents.’
    • ‘A score was at first a cut (it is related to shear) but then developed to mean a notch in a piece of wood, an idea it keeps in the modern verb ‘to mark or incise a line‘.’
    • ‘The ground paving is sometimes incised with curving shapes, but this falls short of the beauty of colorful terrazzo, the preferred paving in traditional public architecture.’
    • ‘A museum in Cuzco still features these neatly incised skulls.’
    • ‘And a bit further down the page, ‘The simple surfaces look almost as if they have been incised with a sharp tool.’’
    • ‘The term intaglio is used when the design is incised and sunk beneath the surface of the block and is moulded in reverse, which strictly speaking is not really a relief but the reverse of relief, and is often used for gemstone carvings.’
    • ‘When he finishes a canvas, he incises his name directly into wet paint in regular but loopy characters.’
    • ‘This is where a drawing is incised into cardboard using a sharp point.’
    • ‘The chip-carved and incised surfaces of the three-dimensional pieces are filled in with crayon, as are the irregular patterns of geometric shapes in the drawings, which shine with a colorful waxy patina.’
    • ‘Any carving which was added afterward would have to be incised below the outline of the existing surface.’
    • ‘There is no precedent for this at all - if in fact they are incised markings rather than butchery marks.’
    1. 1.1 Cut (a mark or decoration) into a surface.
      ‘figures incised on upright stones’
      • ‘He or she carefully incises this mark with a knife blade or scissors to expose the underlying fascia covering the intrinsic laryngeal musculature.’
      • ‘An initial line-drawing is incised into a metal plate, either by directly engraving it or biting it with acid, to create grooves which take in ink.’
      • ‘These stone roundels, of uncertain date and attribution, seem like large-scale sculptures derived from ancient gems and incised precious stones acquired by the Medici.’
      • ‘Then there are the votive offerings made by the agency of jaws and body juices: small medallions of gum layering the walls - pale pinks and blues and browns, with names inscribed or incised.’
      • ‘Since engravings are usually incised with the light coming in from the side, to avoid the shadow of the artist's hand obscuring his or her view, they often require lighting from the side to be seen clearly.’
      • ‘Studded with a patchwork of stones and inscriptions and incised with a Miralles sketch, it stops passers-by in their tracks and provides animation at street level.’
      • ‘As time went on, wood engravings incised on boxwood blocks and lithographic processes were the most common ways to put images on paper, in black and white or with two or more colours.’
      • ‘As the sun was setting we walked to the cemetery, and there, incised in stone, was the name Lucy Lampton.’
      • ‘Then the image is incised into the wax or resin layer with an etching needle.’
      • ‘It is attributed to Joseph Henry Remmey, who is known for similar elaborately incised cobalt blue decoration, especially of stylized birds.’
      • ‘A particular group, to which this first example belongs, have inscriptions incised into the face of a piece of rock situated to the left, right or immediately above the figure.’
      • ‘Lying near the church ruins as reported in Volume 5 of the Irish Memorials of the Dead was a small fragment of a large slab, bearing the remains of an inscription in deeply cut incised capitals with the date 1712.’
      • ‘Today, it seems that there are so many popular techniques that build on the making of marks: gouging, carving and incising into paint and other media; creating a layering of shapes and colors; and overlays of images that play on our senses.’
      • ‘Funnily enough the answer is incised in stone in the bas-reliefs that line the lower walls of the vast, ancient Khmer temple of Angkor Wat.’
      • ‘Stone could be carved, incised, or one set of stone ornaments overlaid on another.’
      • ‘In engraving, fine lines are incised directly into the plate and the burrs removed to produce clean, sharp lines on the print.’
      • ‘Engraving, or incising, to use Wood's term, refers to cutting into the plaque to form the design so that the face of the plaque is flat, the design inset as an intaglio.’
      • ‘In certain daylight, the network seems to dissolve the sandstone forms of the art gallery, while in the evening the lighting pulls the gallery forward, so that the lines appear to be incised directly into the stone.’
      • ‘The site, which pays tribute to Daphne Home Lorimer MBE, features a selection of historical and archaeological papers and pictures, including details of a newly discovered Pictish figure, incised on a bone found in Burray.’
      • ‘As you do - or at least as you do if you are engaged in public art, providing the poem which will appear on a piece of sculpture, whether incised into stone or stamped into steel, carved in wood or inscribed on stained glass.’
      engrave, etch, carve, cut, chisel, inscribe, score, chase, notch
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Cut (skin or flesh) with a surgical instrument.
      ‘the wound was incised and drained’
      • ‘If the stridor persists and all medication fails and death is imminent, then the only hope is incising the ligaments between two of the tracheal rings without injuring the cartilage.’
      • ‘On the other hand, a cut which incises a muscle at right angles to the longitudinal axis of its fibers can be expected to compromise the function of that muscle to a degree commensurate with the severity of the cut.’
      • ‘The desired outcome was based on the surgeon's ability to manipulate a cryolathe, which is an instrument designed to incise tissue linearly.’
      • ‘Since the 1960s, evidence has indicated that antimicrobials administered shortly before the skin is incised can prevent surgical site infections.’
      • ‘For, although they refer to lacerations of the hand, it is clear from the photographs used to illustrate the paper, both on the front and inside the journal, that these are incised wounds.’
      • ‘Bone plugs from the patella and the tibial tubercle were taken in line with the incised tendon by using a small saw.’
      • ‘The boy was admitted to hospital, and three days later the swelling was incised and drained under general anaesthesia.’
      • ‘The abscess was incised and drained, and his airway symptoms immediately improved.’
      • ‘With the electrosurgical pencil, the surgeon incises the pericardium longitudinally, extending upward to the superior vena cava.’
      • ‘Esophageal hiatus is enlarged by incising the central tendon anteriorly to the pericardium.’
      • ‘The supracondylar fat is elevated, and the patellofemoral ligament is incised.’
      • ‘The surgeon incises the skin and bluntly dissects through the subcutaneous fat to expose the sartorius.’
      • ‘After the surgeon makes the initial skin incision and ensures hemostasis, he or she incises the subcutaneous tissue.’
      • ‘This procedure can be performed without incising the eye.’
      • ‘The surgeon incises the peritoneum lateral to the colon and mobilizes the descending colon and splenic flexure.’
      • ‘The surgeon incises the omentum along the lesser curvature of the stomach at a point below the second branch of the left gastric artery.’
      • ‘This approach involves incising the skin and subcutaneous tissue overlying the sternum, sawing longitudinally through the manubrium, body, and xiphoid process of the sternum, and cutting into the pericardial sacs.’
      • ‘Surgeons should be strongly encouraged to refrain from incising the tumor capsule prior to examination by a pathologist; incisions result in tissue retraction and can compromise margin assessment.’
      • ‘After the surgeon incises the fascial layer, extends the incision proximally and distally, and retracts medially and laterally, he or she measures the patellar tendon width.’
      • ‘The pus may escape or drain through a ruptured or incised tympanic membrane, the eardrum.’
      cut, cut into, make an incision in, slit, slit open, lance
      View synonyms


Mid 16th century: from French inciser, from Latin incis- ‘cut into, engraved’, from the verb incidere, from in- ‘into’ + caedere ‘to cut’.