- 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
- 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
- the thick fleshy part of the back of the leg between the ankle and the kneeRelated adjective: sural
Word Origin and History for kill the fatted calf
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.
- 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 kill the fatted calf
kill the fatted calf
Prepare for a joyful occasion or a warm welcome. For example, When Bill comes home from his trip to Korea we're going to kill the fatted calf. This expression alludes to the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11–32), whose father welcomed him by serving the choicest calf after his return. [Early 1600s]
see kill the fatted calf; puppy (calf) love.