Reactive ion etching damage to Pt/Pb(Zr, Ti)O3/Pt ferroelectric capacitors was evaluated under Ar bombardment and CHClFCF3 etch plasmas. The hysteresis and degradation properties, including fatigue and leakage current, were examined systematically to study the mechanism of damage. The damage was measured quantitatively by comparing the relative voltage shift with respect to the initial hysteresis loops. The damage effects were found to be dependent on etching time and mainly due to the physical effect of ion bombardment. The electrical properties of the etched Pt/Pb(Zr, Ti)O3/Pt capacitors were substantially recovered by annealing at 400 °C for 30 min.