In traditional etching, a metal plate is covered with a waxy ground which is resistant to acid. The image is drawn into the ground with a pointed etching needle exposing the bare metal. The plate is then dipped in a bath of acid, known as the mordant (French for "biting"). The acid "bites" into the metal to a depth depending on time and acid strength, leaving behind the drawing carved into the wax on the plate. The remaining ground is then cleaned off the plate. The plate is hand-inked with etching ink all over and the surface ink is wiped clean, leaving ink in the etched lines. Dampened paper is placed over the inked plate and passed through the printing press to transfer the image from the etched plate onto the paper.