• synonyms


[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.
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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.
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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 calving

Historical Examples of calving

  • But do not expect to obtain the full yield of a cow the first year after calving.

    Cattle and Their Diseases

    Robert Jennings

  • It is called dropping after calving, from its following the parturient state.

  • In cases of difficult parturition, or calving, resort is occasionally had to them.

  • After calving, some cracks and sores appear in the udder; they get very troublesome.

  • They generally take it about the thirteenth or fourteenth day after calving.

British Dictionary definitions for calving


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



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper