calf

Definitions

General English

Agriculture

  • noun a young of a cow, less than one year old

Food

  • The young of some of the larger herbivores, principally used of young cows or beef cattle

Medical

  • noun a muscular fleshy part at the back of the lower leg, formed by the gastrocnemius muscles

Publishing

  • noun a soft leather used for binding books

Origin & History of “calf”

English has two distinct words calf, both of Germanic origin. Calf ‘young cow’ goes back to Old English cealf, descendant of a prehistoric west Germanic *kalbam, which also produced German kalb and Dutch kalf. Calf of the leg (14th c.) was borrowed from Old Norse kálfi, of unknown origin.
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