Main definitions of calf in English

: calf1calf2

calf1

noun

  • 1A young bovine animal, especially a domestic cow or bull in its first year.

    ‘a heifer calf’
    • ‘There were one hundred and thirty lots in all from bull calves, and heifer calves.’
    • ‘Are cows which provide colostrum for your calves tested for bovine leukosis?’
    • ‘There will be special arrangements for the movement of young calves, bulls, breeding pigs and probably sheep in the autumn.’
    • ‘On display will be the cream of the 2003 bull and heifer calves that have qualified at various regional shows throughout the summer.’
    • ‘They raise their own replacement heifers and sell their bull calves to another organic farmer nearby.’
    • ‘On May 10 the men found fourteen bison with two new calves, but the animals fled from the intruders, who could not keep up with them in the slushy snow.’
    • ‘He rears the bull calves to a year-and-a-half and the heifer calves to two-year-olds.’
    • ‘He gets top prices for his bull calves at Ballina Mart - last year his bull calves made over 400 Euro with their weight and were sold for bull beef.’
    • ‘The young and dairy-type Friesian bull calves have dropped back to €50 / head at the low end of the price scale.’
    • ‘He rears 100 bull beef calves, runs a flock of 300 ewes and produces 3,000 turkeys for the Christmas market.’
    • ‘Dairy bull calves reared for beef through a pioneering fattening scheme are achieving gross margin returns of £199 a head for Pembrokeshire farmers.’
    • ‘Cows, calves and bull were docile and showed no signs of fear or excitement at the presence of the group.’
    • ‘Newborn buffalo calves, like bovine calves, can succumb in large numbers to viruses, bacteria, and poor nutrition.’
    • ‘In all 12 heifers and 12 bull calves have qualified for the final.’
    • ‘This will lead to a continuing build-up of store animals and calves on many farms resulting in labour, feed and housing difficulties.’
    • ‘The pokey bull calves of dairy cows are slaughtered at 16 to 18 weeks for veal.’
    • ‘He also received second place for his heifer in calf and second for his calf bull.’
    • ‘Never come between an excitable cow/heifer and her calf and never ever turn your back on a nervous animal in a small space.’
    • ‘On April 28 this year, the same cow delivered three Charolais bull calves, any one of which would be an acceptable size single.’
    • ‘Caribou bull cow and two calves skirt the ridge above our camp lake during breakfast.’
    cow, heifer, bull, bullock, ox
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The young of some other large mammals, such as elephants, rhinoceroses, large deer and antelopes, and whales.
      • ‘‘One of the whales, who was a calf at the time, is still alive and still roaming around with J pod,’ Margo said.’
      • ‘Like the elephant calf in Africa that decided to play football with a crocodile, little realising the danger till the mother elephant shooed it away.’
      • ‘Numerous skeletons of young calves have also been unearthed, many of them nestled next to adult females, no doubt their mothers.’
      • ‘He put no blame on the elephant, saying that the young female was simply trying to defend its territory, along with another elephant with a calf nearby.’
      • ‘The lice move from mother to calf and among whales in close contact with each other.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They observed an orphaned elephant calf being rejected from its herd.’
      • ‘Seconds later, at the edge of visibility, a sperm whale and her calf appeared.’
      • ‘Standard size domestic donkeys are useful for halter-breaking young calves and foals.’
      • ‘Killing a large whale is too dangerous for the calf, but as a spectator, it picks up lethal techniques like ramming, drowning, and biting the prey.’
      • ‘The transients ambush them - they have a taste for the gray whale calves' high-energy blubber and protein-rich tongues.’
      • ‘A killer whale calf learned the trick of luring gulls to the surface of the water with fish.’
      • ‘Here, whales bear their calves in warm, sheltered water.’
      • ‘It is a fairly large group, maybe fifty-five individuals, including several adult males and some very young calves.’
      • ‘Whale calves also surface in the ring of open water, right next to their mothers.’
      • ‘Neither actual mating of blue whales nor birth of a calf have been observed in modern times, and the breeding grounds for some populations are still unknown.’
      • ‘Gray whale calves are born in the winter after a gestation period of about 13.5 months.’
      • ‘The 2000 birth of a healthy calf to a rhino called Emi at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio was the first successful captive delivery in 112 years.’
      • ‘Discover how mother dolphins pass along the secrets of survival to their young, and watch calves as they test their skills at work and at play.’
      • ‘The female stays close to the coast in an effort to protect the calf from transient killer whales.’
    2. 1.2
      short for calfskin
      • ‘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.

Phrases

  • in (or with) calf

    • (of a cow) pregnant.

      ‘most of the heifers are in calf’
      • ‘The female section includes 14 in calf heifers.’
      • ‘The overall beef champion and also Champion of Champions at Saturday's East Mainland Show was a two-year-old heifer in calf, owned by John W. Hepburn of Burnside, Tankerness.’
      • ‘But if an animal was sick, in calf, had a sore foot, a sore udder or any other ailment, a term of endearment we called them all ‘Molly’.’
      • ‘Their incorporation into these pedigree herds as suckler dams or resale as in calf cows offers a very lucrative second-hand value.’
      • ‘He favours New Zealand Friesians because, in his opinion, the breed is robust, holds its condition and, above all, gets back in calf easily.’
      • ‘Roland has a wonderful selection of cows and calves and cows in calf and there are enquiries from far and wide.’
      • ‘We didn't have any problems getting the heifers in calf, but neither were there any with the Holsteins.’
      • ‘The champion in the cattle section at Tuesday's Shapinsay show was a black heifer in calf named Tilly, owned by R. J. Johnston of Hewan, Shapinsay.’
      • ‘Dry cows and in calf heifers can easily be managed inside as maintenance requirements are relatively low and can easily be met.’
      • ‘You are asking the heifers to grow, go in calf, calf down, produce milk, go back in calf, compete in a competitive grazing environment and continue to do so for a number of lactations.’
      • ‘As these heifers do not have to be in calf, there is bound to be a drop in the number of quality beef suckler calves produced and a reduction in the supply of our best beef.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the beef lines Limousins were headed by the in calf heifer Brontemoor Spice Girl, owned by Steve Priestley, owner of a 100-cow breeding herd at Denholme, near Bradford.’
      • ‘Very often those calved heifers fail to go back in calf easily and become late calvers the following season.’
      • ‘About 15 top cows will be for sale plus in calf heifers and maiden heifers.’
      • ‘Farmers end up wintering cattle that are not in calf and it's less efficient.’
      • ‘The most visible costs are the A.I. costs, but it can also lead to increased veterinary costs and you have no guarantee that the cow will go in calf to the first straw in the spring.’
      • ‘Even though labour demanding, it must be done if you are not to ‘lose’ a lot of money by missed heats and a high percentage of cows not in calf.’
      • ‘Mr Robinson, 36, has a second holding in Kendal and made a licensed movement on welfare grounds of cows in calf from Langcliffe nine days ago.’
      • ‘So it is natural that cows will be difficult to get in calf if they are losing body condition before insemination and now the scientists have proof that this is so.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

calf

/kɑːf/

Main definitions of calf in English

: calf1calf2

calf2

noun

  • The fleshy part at the back of a person's leg below the knee.

    as modifier ‘the calf muscles’
    • ‘Each time the calf and thigh muscles contract when walking, veins deep inside the leg are squeezed.’
    • ‘Segmental pressures are obtained bilaterally on the lower extremities at the thigh, above the knee, the calf, and the ankle.’
    • ‘No one really knows what causes these sudden, painful muscle spasms in the calf, the thigh or the arch of the foot.’
    • ‘The most crippling injuries were to Simon's right leg, mangled beyond recognition below the knee, the entire calf musculature torn off.’
    • ‘In the legs, the normal action of the calf muscles helps pump the blood back to the heart, usually without difficulty.’
    • ‘From the ankle, the saphenous vein ascends the calf along the border of the gastrocnemius muscle.’
    • ‘It cuts the leg below the calf, and all muscle bellies except those of gastrocnemius are present.’
    • ‘Obesity that prevents ambulation exacerbates venous hypertension because the calf muscle is not working to keep the veins pumping the blood out of the leg.’
    • ‘Then, begin stretching the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon, which attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone.’
    • ‘The Achilles tendon is the thick, strong tendon that joins the calf muscles to the heel bone.’
    • ‘Exercise in the heat can bring on heat cramps, which usually affect tired muscles in the calves, thighs and shoulders.’
    • ‘A common sprain injury is a torn Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel.’
    • ‘I do standing calf raises for gastrocnemius and seated calf raises for soleus muscles.’
    • ‘The devotees were also treated for their excruciating pain in their shoulders, neck, back, thighs, knees, calves, ankle and foot.’
    • ‘Well actually it's about just letting the calf muscles and the toes be as they are.’
    • ‘That's partly because you've lost flexibility in the calf and the soleus muscle, which is near the ankle.’
    • ‘Using this technique, the surgeon makes an incision in the back of the knee and retracts the calf muscle.’
    • ‘Lengthening the tendon or an attached calf muscle reduces the pressure on the ball of the foot to help prevent and treat diabetic foot ulcers.’
    • ‘In patients with venous insufficiency damage occurs to the veins or calf muscle pump, resulting in high venous pressures in the deep veins.’
    • ‘The veins in the deep system drain the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of the calf.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

calf

/kɑːf/