• synonyms


[kav, kahv]
See more synonyms for calve on Thesaurus.com
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.
Show More
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.
Show More

Origin of calve

before 1000; Middle English calven, Old English (Anglian) *calfian, derivative of calf calf1; cognate with Old English (West Saxon) cealfian
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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.

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for calve


  1. to give birth to (a calf)
  2. (of a glacier or iceberg) to release (masses of ice) in breaking up
Show More
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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper