There are 2 main definitions of calf in English:

Share this entry

calf 1

Syllabification: calf

noun (plural calveskavz)

1A young bovine animal, especially a domestic cow or bull in its first year.
Example sentences
  • In all 12 heifers and 12 bull calves have qualified for the final.
  • On display will be the cream of the 2003 bull and heifer calves that have qualified at various regional shows throughout the summer.
  • Dairy bull calves reared for beef through a pioneering fattening scheme are achieving gross margin returns of £199 a head for Pembrokeshire farmers.
1.1The young of some other large mammals, such as elephants, rhinoceroses, large deer and antelopes, and whales.
Example sentences
  • The transients ambush them - they have a taste for the gray whale calves' high-energy blubber and protein-rich tongues.
  • Whale calves also surface in the ring of open water, right next to their mothers.
  • The whale calf is thought to have become separated from its mother in the lower Thames, where the sighting of another, larger bottlenose whale was reported.
1.2 short for calfskin.
Example sentences
  • The calf and suede styles feature resin hardware.
  • Made from moose leather with rawhide bindings crisscrossing around the calf they looked like something Shackleton would have improvised adrift on the ice-floes.
2A floating piece of ice detached from an iceberg.


in (or with) calf
(Of a cow) pregnant.
Example sentences
  • Roland has a wonderful selection of cows and calves and cows in calf and there are enquiries from far and wide.
  • The Wold Newton herd is flushed with ‘Royal success’, having just won the Senior Bull Championship with Wold Newton Rambo, which is Lot 96 in the sale, and 15 heifers are in calf to him.
  • We didn't have any problems getting the heifers in calf, but neither were there any with the Holsteins.
kill the fatted calf
see fat.


Example sentences
  • It's a mission which looks dangerously like seduction as she hangs around gazing calf-like at the older man, who reacts with a panicky cold sweat.
  • Her calf-like deference to this tyrant was distasteful to me.
  • Whereas Aaron fashions a golden calf-like idol, saying he must appeal to the visual in order for the masses to understand, which he expresses quite brilliantly in song.


Old English cælf, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch kalf and German Kalb.

Words that rhyme with calf

barf, behalf, chaff, coif, giraffe, Graf, graph, half, laugh, scarf, scrum half, staff, strafe, wing half
Definition of calf in:
Share this entry

There are 2 main definitions of calf in English:

Share this entry
calf 2 Syllabification: calf

noun (plural calveskavz)

The fleshy part at the back of a person’s leg below the knee.
Example sentences
  • It cuts the leg below the calf, and all muscle bellies except those of gastrocnemius are present.
  • The devotees were also treated for their excruciating pain in their shoulders, neck, back, thighs, knees, calves, ankle and foot.
  • Using this technique, the surgeon makes an incision in the back of the knee and retracts the calf muscle.


Middle English: from Old Norse kálfi, of unknown origin.

Definition of calf in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources