[ kav, kahv ]

verb (used without object)

, calved, calv·ing.
  1. to give birth to a calf:

    The cow is expected to calve tomorrow.

  2. (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.
  1. to give birth to (a calf ).
  2. (of a glacier, an iceberg, etc.) to break off or detach (a piece):

    The glacier calved an iceberg.


/ kɑːv /


  1. to give birth to (a calf)
  2. (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 History and Origins

Origin of calve1

before 1000; Middle English calven, Old English (Anglian) *calfian, derivative of calf calf 1; cognate with Old English ( West Saxon ) cealfian
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Example Sentences

We won’t be watching glaciers calve from a cruise ship or fighting for photo ops from a crowded tour bus in Denali.

When perched on this mound, called a moraine, tidewater glaciers flow more slowly and calve fewer icebergs, which allows them to advance even in unfavorable climates.

Seeing your first iceberg calve makes you realize how small you are and what your place on the planet actually is.

Some come to see calving glaciers and climate change in action.

Farmers do not kill their breeding ewes in March, nor butcher cows that are to calve in a month; it does not pay.

They will continue to give milk till eight months gone with calf, or till they calve again, if you continue to milk them.

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

They have milk at all times, and may be milked all the year, excepting four or five days before they calve.

Fin whales calve and breed in winter, mostly in temperate waters.





Calvary crossCalvert