\ ˈkav How to pronounce calve (audio) , ˈkäv \
calved; calving

Definition of calve

intransitive verb

1 : to give birth to a calf also : to produce offspring
2 of an ice mass : to separate or break so that a part becomes detached

transitive verb

1 : to produce by birth
2 of an ice mass : to let become detached

Examples of calve in a Sentence

The cow calved in the barn.
Recent Examples on the Web Changes in feeding influence reproduction, and anything that harms whales' ability to calve ultimately jeopardizes survival. Elizabeth Grossman, Scientific American, "Noise Reduces Ocean Habitat for Whales," 22 Oct. 2010 The giant pancake of Malaspina Glacier does not calve into the ocean. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, "Scientists study why the Malaspina Glacier seems to get up and go," 27 Feb. 2021 As the glacier flows out to sea, icebergs calve off the ocean-facing end of the ice shelf. Sarah Gibbens, Environment, "Huge iceberg breaking up off South Georgia Island is still a threat," 28 Dec. 2020 Huge masses of ice spectacularly calve from its face with thunderous roars. Melissa Findley, National Geographic, "Destinations on the rise for 2021," 20 Nov. 2020 Alaska — Bartlett Cove Campground, Glacier Bay National Park In a state full of natural riches, Glacier Bay is a marvel, home to lofty peaks, humpback whales, 700 miles of coastline, and blue-tinged glaciers that calve directly into the sea. Sarah Feldberg, Travel + Leisure, "The Best Place to Camp in Each of the 50 States," 24 Feb. 2017 Bears are grazing in meadows near California’s Yosemite Valley Visitor Center, and elk were undisturbed at the beginning of the spring calving season in Yellowstone National Park. NBC News, "National park closings gave wildlife room to roam. Rangers advise caution amid reopenings.," 16 May 2020 The calving event resulted from two cracks that were first spotted last year using satellites. Andrew Freedman,, "Iceberg twice the size of Washington, D.C., cleaves off Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica, in a sign of warming," 10 Feb. 2020 The western edge of the famed iceberg A-68 (TOP R), calved from the Larsen C ice shelf, is seen from NASA's Operation IceBridge research aircraft, near the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula region, on October 31, 2017, above Antarctica. Taylor Kate Brown,, "Bay Briefing: Coronavirus — what Bay Area residents need to know," 28 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'calve.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of calve

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for calve

Middle English calven, going back to Old English (Anglian) *calfian, (West Saxon) cealfian, derivative of cælf, cealf calf entry 1

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Time Traveler for calve

Time Traveler

The first known use of calve was before the 12th century

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Statistics for calve

Last Updated

25 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Calve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for calve



English Language Learners Definition of calve

of a cow : to give birth to a calf


\ ˈkav How to pronounce calve (audio) , ˈkäv \
calved; calving

Kids Definition of calve

: to give birth to a calf The cow calved in the barn.

More from Merriam-Webster on calve

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for calve

Nglish: Translation of calve for Spanish Speakers

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