[ kav, kahv ]
/ kæv, kɑv /

verb (used without object), calved, calv·ing.

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, calv·ing.

to give birth to (a calf).
(of a glacier, an iceberg, etc.) to break off or detach (a piece): The glacier calved an iceberg.

Nearby words

  1. calvados,
  2. calvaria,
  3. calvarium,
  4. calvary,
  5. calvary cross,
  6. calvert,
  7. calves,
  8. calvin,
  9. calvin cycle,
  10. calvin, john

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for calve

British Dictionary definitions for calve


/ (kɑːv) /


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

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