\ 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 Every so often, snapping sounds and deep rumbles echoed up out of the frozen abyss, signaling that a chunk of ice was breaking off, or calving, from the glacier. Denise Chow, NBC News, "My night stranded on the edge of Greenland's fast-melting Helheim Glacier," 17 Sep. 2019 This mix of fresh and ocean water under the glacier drives melting and increases calving, the real hard-luck consequence of the findings. Adam Popescu, National Geographic, "A Greenland glacier is growing. That doesn't mean melting is over.," 25 Mar. 2019 As development increased, calving caribou were pushed southward where the food wasn’t as nutritious, resulting in the mothers having lower-weight calves. Christopher Solomon, New York Times, "Exploring a Timeless Wilderness, Before the Drilling Begins," 13 Sep. 2019 Itinerary Itinerary Iceland is a country of extremes, where geysers and lava flows coexist with powerful waterfalls and calving glaciers. National Geographic, "Iceland Expedition: Land of Fire and Ice," 15 Sep. 2019 This process causes the glacier to become top-heavy and thus more likely to calve. Jennifer Leman, Scientific American, "Alarming Sonar Results Show Glaciers May Be Melting Faster Than We Expected," 26 July 2019 But as startling as the crisp and, yes, dramatic images may be, a sense of slight monotony sometimes creeps in after so many shots of ice, calving glaciers, heaving waves, sea foam, rain, snow, fog, mist, etc. Michael Sullivan, Houston Chronicle, "Documentary ‘Aquarela’ is a beautifully terrifying immersion," 29 Aug. 2019 The area is home to calving caribou, polar bears and other wildlife. New York Times, "Arctic Refuge Likely Won’t Be Surveyed Before Oil Lease Sales," 8 July 2019 By the season’s end, the AP reports, about 440 billion tons (400 billion metric tons) of ice will have melted or calved off Greenland’s giant ice sheet. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Greenland has serious problems. A Trump deal isn’t one of them.," 21 Aug. 2019

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 Oct 2019

Cite this Entry

“Calve.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for calve


How to pronounce calve (audio)

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.

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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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