Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To give birth to a calf.
  • intransitive v. To break at an edge, so that a portion separates. Used of a glacier or iceberg.
  • transitive v. To give birth to (a calf).
  • transitive v. To set loose (a mass of ice). Used of a glacier or iceberg.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To give birth to a calf.
  • v. To assist the giving of birth of a calf.
  • v. To break off or shed a large piece.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To bring forth a calf.
  • intransitive v. To bring forth young; to produce offspring.
  • intransitive v. To throw off fragments which become icebergs; -- said of a glacier.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To bring forth a calf or calves: sometimes used contemptuously of human beings, and by Milton of the earth at the creation of cattle, etc.
  • To become separated from or lose a portion of itself: said of a glacier when icebergs are broken off from it.
  • To become detached and fall inward, as earth or rock from the walls of a cutting: with in. Now cave in.
  • To give birth to, as a cow to a calf; bring forth.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. birth
  • v. release ice

Etymologies

Middle English calven, from Old English *calfian, from calf, calf.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Verb form related to calf This definition is lacking an etymology or has an incomplete etymology. You can help Wiktionary by giving it a proper etymology. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • As Brinkley reminds us early on, Alaska is a land of wonderful verbiage - a place where glaciers "calve" shed hunks of ice, where the countryside is "the bush," where you can visit Misty Fiords and Gates of the Arctic, the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes and the Island of the Standing Stone.

    Fighting fiercely to keep Alaska wild

  • Similarly like in the Arctic, the outer sections of ice break off or "calve" from these shelves and form icebergs.

    Cryosphere

  • Periodically, fissures and cracks form in theice shelf behind its front to the Ross Sea and large slabs of the shelfbreak off or "calve" to create tablular icebergs that float away into the Ross Sea.

    Ross Ice Shelf

  • Shackleton considered this location, which he named the Bay of Whales, too risky because of the possibility that the Barrier would "calve" a new tabular ice berg and the entire base either would float away into the sea or worse.

    Amundsen and Scott at the South Pole

  • They'd quickly begin to "calve," sending babies out on shoots that would break off when the baby got big enough, and naturalize in their new home.

    The Outstretched Shadow

  • A 300 meter long asteriod will almost certainly break up, or "calve", just prior to or upon entry in the upper atmosphere.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • These glaciers will literally "calve" enormous ghunkc of ice before your very eyes, and the chunks will hit the waters below with a surprisingly loud sound.

    MyLinkVault Newest Links

  • Shackleton had deemed this base too risky because of the possibility that the Barrier would "calve" a new tabular ice berg and the entire base either would float away into the sea or worse would fall into the sea.

    Featured Articles - Encyclopedia of Earth

  • Ice shelves lose ice, and therefore mass, when icebergs 'calve' away from the seaward front of the shelf.

    Green Options

  • Icebergs frequently split or "calve" off Antarctica’s ice shelves, and they often get swept up in strong circumpolar currents that carry them around the icy continent.

    Giant Iceberg Still Heading for Australia (Satellite Images) | Universe Today

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