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[kav, kahv] /kæv, kɑv/
verb (used without object), calved, calving.
to give birth to a calf:
The cow is expected to calve tomorrow.
(of a glacier, an iceberg, etc.) to break up or splinter so as to produce a detached piece.
verb (used with object), calved, calving.
to give birth to (a calf).
(of a glacier, an iceberg, etc.) to break off or detach (a piece):
The glacier calved an iceberg.
Origin of calve
before 1000; Middle English calven, Old English (Anglian) *calfian, derivative of calf calf1; cognate with Old English (West Saxon) cealfian Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for calving
  • If global warming ends up causing glaciers to accelerate their calving, it's worth watching.
  • But it is melting fast, with the thunderous sounds of icebergs calving off glaciers filling the air.
  • calving only means glaciers are moving towards the sea.
  • Glaciers on land are moving faster and calving more often, increasing the total sea ice.
  • That's because of the calving, the term that's given when big chunks of the glacier break off.
  • Each tour includes lunch alongside a glacier in the process of calving-sheering off large pieces into the ocean.
  • Electric fencing now surrounds calving lots in many risky areas.
  • It is wildebeest calving season, and many of those giant bearded antelope have newborns trailing them.
  • The danger posed by calving ice is too great, they say.
  • Experimental selection for calving ease and postnatal growth in seven cattle populations.
British Dictionary definitions for calving


to give birth to (a calf)
(of a glacier or iceberg) to release (masses of ice) in breaking up
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
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Word Origin and History for calving



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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