\ˈkav, 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

In the above video, a small calving event—where a piece of the iceberg breaks off the larger whole—triggers some sizable waves, although these waves do not threaten the shore. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Giant Iceberg Threatens Entire Greenland Village," 19 July 2018 Of special concern is why so few right whales are reproducing, with only five whales calving last year and none this year, said Mayo, who was not involved in the research. David Sharp, The Seattle Times, "Study: Blowhole spray can provide fast data on whale health," 17 July 2018 While that's happening, tall and thing icebergs called pinnacle bergs calve off and flip upside down. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "A Stunning Video of a Greenland Iceberg Collapse," 10 July 2018 The Nelchina caribou are just now beginning to cross the Richardson Highway north of Sourdough en route to the spring calving grounds in the Talkeetna Mountains. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "It’s still winter in the Alaska Range, which is both good and bad," 13 May 2018 Various governmental organizations would determine the kill zones prior to calving season, which typically runs from February to March. Jordyn Hermani, Indianapolis Star, "Black vultures are eating cows alive. But it's difficult to legally kill the birds.," 13 July 2018 Ludovico even played the piece live on Arctic waters, as glaciers calved in the distance. Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle, "Ludovico: The piano’s quiet rock star talks about his first Houston concert," 11 July 2018 But that kind of documentation is essential to understanding—and modeling—how and why glaciers calve. Robbie Gonzalez, WIRED, "A Time-Lapsed Glacier Collapse Is the Saddest Science Lesson," 9 July 2018 Speakers beneath the floor rumble with thunderous sounds of glaciers calving, like a keening mammoth. Cate Mcquaid,, "An otherworldy Arctic landscape, in a beautiful and troubling exhibit," 9 May 2018

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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Statistics for calve

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for calve

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

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More Definitions for calve



English Language Learners Definition of calve

of a cow : to give birth to a calf


\ˈkav, ˈkäv\
calved; calving

Kids Definition of calve

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on calve

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with calve

Spanish Central: Translation of calve

Nglish: Translation of calve for Spanish Speakers

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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