I came across this sentence on ODO: (from the entry in the main)

‘It was a victory etched out in the main through a team effort and a very fine one at that.’

I can't seem to find "etch out" defined anywhere as a phrasal verb. Can a victory be "etched out"?

  • 3
    It's not an expression I've heard as it is used there, "to accomplish something with assiduous effort", but it does seem analogous to carve out which is also used in a similar way. The settlers carved out a life for themselves in the unforgiving climate.
    – TimR
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 19:05
  • 1
    I would have expected eked out there, assuming it was a hard-fought struggle for the entire team, won by a narrow margin. ("to get with great effort", according to m-w.com.)
    – Hellion
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 19:46

1 Answer 1


They are indicating that it was a victory that was only won through Hard work that if the team didn't work as hard as they did it may not have turned out so well. Imagine sculpting a sculpture as the goal, the team had to etch out their victory to be successful.

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