- plural of calf1.
- plural of calf2.
- the young of the domestic cow or other bovine animal.
- the young of certain other mammals, as the elephant, seal, and whale.
- calfskin leather.
- Informal. an awkward, silly boy or man.
- a mass of ice detached from a glacier, iceberg, or floe.
- in calf, (of a cow or other animal having calves) pregnant.
- kill the fatted calf, to prepare an elaborate feast in welcome or celebration.
Origin of calf1
- 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.
- 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
- the fleshy part of the back of the human leg below the knee.
Origin of calf2
Examples from the Web for calves
Contemporary Examples of calves
He wears a black Under Armour T-shirt, red basketball shorts, sneakers, and white socks hiked up to his calves.The Ugly Truth About Cory Booker, New Jersey’s Golden Boy
October 20, 2014
In Mexico, crowds gather to watch dwarf bullfighters taunt their calves with red capes for pay of $50 to $100.China Has a Dwarf Amusement Park
June 5, 2014
My team and I learned that family units are split up and calves are taken from mothers and moved to other parks.‘Blackfish’ Director: Killer Whales Don’t Belong in Captivity
October 24, 2013
Their calves have evolved to stand upright within five minutes of birth, and to run alongside their mothers within 20.Walking With Wildebeests: Exploring the Serengeti on Foot
July 9, 2013
Before the drought, the Smiths owned about 150 cows and their calves and as many as 100 yearlings.The Texas Drought Seen Firsthand from the Eyes of Ranchers
August 9, 2012
Historical Examples of calves
Also the calves bleating and the lambs callin' on their dams.Samantha Among the Brethren, Part 1.
Josiah Allen's Wife (Marietta Holley)
And none but calves the most immature can possibly sympathize with him.
They had six horses, three cows, two calves, and some twenty sheep.Master and Man
They not only milk these cows, but they tenderly raise their calves.
I met him in the front yard where we keep the calves and let the sheep run.Chit-Chat; Nirvana; The Searchlight
Mathew Joseph Holt
- to give birth to (a calf)
- (of a glacier or iceberg) to release (masses of ice) in breaking up
- the young of cattle, esp domestic cattleRelated adjective: vituline
- the young of certain other mammals, such as the buffalo, elephant, giraffe, and whale
- a large piece of floating ice detached from an iceberg, etc
- kill the fatted calf to celebrate lavishly, esp as a welcome
- another name for calfskin
Word Origin for calf
- the thick fleshy part of the back of the leg between the ankle and the kneeRelated adjective: sural
Word Origin for calf
Word Origin and History for calves
fleshy part of the lower leg, early 14c., from Old Norse kalfi, source unknown; possibly from the same Germanic root as calf (n.1).
"young cow," Old English cealf (Anglian cælf) "young cow," from West Germanic *kalbam (cf. Middle Dutch calf, Old Norse kalfr, German Kalb, Gothic kalbo), perhaps from PIE *gelb(h)-, from root *gel- "to swell," hence, "womb, fetus, young of an animal." Elliptical sense of "leather made from the skin of a calf" is from 1727. Used of icebergs that break off from glaciers from 1818.
Old English cealfian, from cealf "calf" (see calf (n.1)). Of icebergs, 1837. Related: Calved; calving.
- The fleshy, muscular back part of the human leg between the knee and ankle, formed chiefly by the bellies of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles.
Idioms and Phrases with calves
see kill the fatted calf; puppy (calf) love.