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[kav, kahv] /kæv, kɑv/
verb (used without object), calved, calving.
to give birth to a calf:
The cow is expected to calve tomorrow.
(of a glacier, an iceberg, etc.) to break up or splinter so as to produce a detached piece.
verb (used with object), calved, calving.
to give birth to (a calf).
(of a glacier, an iceberg, etc.) to break off or detach (a piece):
The glacier calved an iceberg.
Origin of calve
before 1000; Middle English calven, Old English (Anglian) *calfian, derivative of calf calf1; cognate with Old English (West Saxon) cealfian Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for calve
Historical Examples
  • When these pieces break away the inland ice is said to "calve."

    From Pole to Pole

    Sven Anders Hedin
  • These Welsh heifers will calve about May; and they are just the very thing for a cottager.

    Rural Rides William Cobbett
  • The assemblage was a brilliant one and calve was at her best.

    The Song of the Wolf

    Frank Mayer
  • It was once supposed that the gastric juice of the calve's stomach was acid, and produced coagulation by souring.

    Hints on cheese-making Thomas Day Curtis
  • How or why the principle obtained by soaking the calve's stomach produces coagulation has not yet been discovered.

    Hints on cheese-making Thomas Day Curtis
  • They will continue to give milk till eight months gone with calf, or till they calve again, if you continue to milk them.

    Soil Culture J. H. Walden
  • We have a goddess that makes the butter to come in the churn, curdles the milk for the cheese, and helps the cow to calve.

    Lords of the World Alfred John Church
  • And soon after some man said to him "The cow will be apt soon to calve," though it wasn't very near the time.

  • And Mrs. Bumpkin pointed out which ones had calved and which were expected to calve in the course of a few months.

  • In taking some calve's-foot jelly from the fire, she had inadvertently overturned the boiling liquid.

    Trevlyn Hold Mrs. Henry Wood
British Dictionary definitions for calve


to give birth to (a calf)
(of a glacier or iceberg) to release (masses of ice) in breaking up
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for calve

Old English cealfian, from cealf "calf" (see calf (n.1)). Of icebergs, 1837. Related: Calved; calving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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