|—n , pl calves|
|1.||the young of cattle, esp domestic cattleRelated: vituline|
|2.||the young of certain other mammals, such as the buffalo, elephant, giraffe, and whale|
|3.||a large piece of floating ice detached from an iceberg, etc|
|4.||kill the fatted calf to celebrate lavishly, esp as a welcome|
|5.||another name for calfskin|
|[Old English cealf; related to Old Norse kālfr, Gothic kalbō, Old High German kalba]|
n. pl. calves (kāvz)
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.
Calves were commonly made use of in sacrifices, and are therefore frequently mentioned in Scripture. The "fatted calf" was regarded as the choicest of animal food; it was frequently also offered as a special sacrifice (1 Sam. 28:24; Amos 6:4; Luke 15:23). The words used in Jer. 34:18, 19, "cut the calf in twain," allude to the custom of dividing a sacrifice into two parts, between which the parties ratifying a covenant passed (Gen. 15:9, 10, 17, 18). The sacrifice of the lips, i.e., priase, is called "the calves of our lips" (Hos. 14:2, R.V., "as bullocks the offering of our lips." Comp. Heb. 13:15; Ps. 116:7; Jer. 33:11). The golden calf which Aaron made (Ex. 32:4) was probably a copy of the god Moloch rather than of the god Apis, the sacred ox or calf of Egypt. The Jews showed all through their history a tendency toward the Babylonian and Canaanitish idolatry rather than toward that of Egypt. Ages after this, Jeroboam, king of Israel, set up two idol calves, one at Dan, and the other at Bethel, that he might thus prevent the ten tribes from resorting to Jerusalem for worship (1 Kings 12:28). These calves continued to be a snare to the people till the time of their captivity. The calf at Dan was carried away in the reign of Pekah by Tiglath-pileser, and that at Bethel ten years later, in the reign of Hoshea, by Shalmaneser (2 Kings 15:29; 17:33). This sin of Jeroboam is almost always mentioned along with his name (2 Kings 15:28 etc.).
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]