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

  • n. A young cow or bull.
  • n. The young of certain other mammals, such as the elephant or whale.
  • n. Calfskin leather.
  • n. A large floating chunk of ice split off from a glacier, iceberg, or floe.
  • n. An awkward, callow youth.
  • n. The fleshy muscular back part of the human leg between the knee and ankle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A young cow or bull.
  • n. A young elephant, seal or whale (also used of some other animals).
  • n. A chunk of ice broken off of a larger glacier, ice shelf, or iceberg.
  • n. A small island, near a larger island.
  • n. A cabless railroad engine
  • n. An awkward or silly boy or young man; any silly person; a dolt.
  • n. The back of the leg below the knee.
  • n. The muscle in the back of the leg below the knee.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The young of the cow, or of the Bovine family of quadrupeds. Also, the young of some other mammals, as of the elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, and whale.
  • n. Leather made of the skin of the calf; especially, a fine, light-colored leather used in bookbinding.
  • n. An awkward or silly boy or young man; any silly person; a dolt.
  • n. A small island near a larger.
  • n. A small mass of ice set free from the submerged part of a glacier or berg, and rising to the surface.
  • n. The fleshy hinder part of the leg below the knee.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The young of the cow or of other bovine quadrupeds.
  • n. The young of marine mammals, as seals and cetaceans, the adults of which are called bulls and cows.
  • n. In heraldry, a fawn.
  • n. Calfskin leather: as, a shoe made of calf; a book bound in calf.
  • n. A bookbinding in calfskin.
  • n. An immature or raw person; a silly dolt; a weak or cowardly man.
  • n. A small island lying near a large one (the two being compared to a cow with its calf): as, the calf of Man.
  • n. A mass of earth which separates from the walls of a cutting or excavation, and falls in. Compare calve, 3, and cave.
  • n. Nautical, a mass of floe-ice, breaking from under the floe and rising to the surface of the water, often with violence.
  • n. The thick fleshy part of the human leg behind, between the knee and the ankle, chiefly formed by the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, which are relatively larger in man than in any other animal, for the better support of the body in the erect attitude.
  • n. The part of a stocking which covers the calf of the leg.

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

  • n. young of various large placental mammals e.g. whale or giraffe or elephant or buffalo
  • n. young of domestic cattle
  • n. the muscular back part of the shank
  • n. fine leather from the skin of a calf


Middle English, from Old English cealf.
Middle English, from Old Norse kālfi; possibly akin to calf1 (from its shape).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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