Etymology
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calf (n.2)
"thick, fleshy part of the back of the lower human leg," early 14c., from Old Norse kalfi, a word of unknown origin; possibly from the same Germanic root as calf (n.1). Relatively larger in man than in other mammals for the support of the body standing upright. Of garments, calf-length is from 1956.
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calf (n.1)
"young of a bovine animal," Old English cealf (Anglian cælf) "young cow," from Proto-Germanic *kalbam (source also of Middle Dutch calf, Old Norse kalfr, German Kalb, Gothic kalbo), perhaps from PIE *gelb(h)-, from root *gel- "to swell," hence, "womb, fetus, young of an animal."

Elliptical sense of "fine kind of leather made from the skin of a calf" is from 1727 (short for calf-skin, 1580s). Extended by 1725 to the young of marine mammals, the adults of which are called bulls and cows. Used of icebergs that break off from glaciers from 1818 (perhaps from Scandinavian use in reference to a small islet lying near a large one). Finnish kalpe is from Germanic. Golden calf "idol" is from Exodus.
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moon-calf (n.)

also mooncalf, "abortive, shapeless, fleshy mass," 1560s, attributed to the influence of the moon; from moon (n.) + calf (n.1). In later 16c., "deformed creature, monster;" from 1620s as "congenital idiot."

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calve (v.)
"to bring forth a calf or calves," Old English cealfian, from cealf "calf" (see calf (n.1)). Of glaciers, "to lose a portion by an iceberg breaking off," 1837. Related: Calved; calving.
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gastrocnemius (n.)
1670s, from Latinized form of Greek gastroknemia "calf of the leg," from gaster "belly" (see gastric) + kneme "calf of the leg," from PIE *kone-mo- "shin, leg-bone" (see ham (n.1)). So called for its form (the "protuberant" part of the calf of the leg). Related: Gastrocnemical.
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veal (n.)
late 14c., "calf meat as food," from Anglo-French vel, Old French veel "a calf" (12c., Modern French veau), earlier vedel, from Latin vitellus "a little calf," diminutive of vitulus "calf," perhaps originally "yearling," if related, as some think, to Sanskrit vatsah "calf," literally "yearling;" Gothic wiþrus, Old English weðer (see wether; also see veteran).
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bleat (n.)
"the cry of a sheep, goat, or calf," c. 1500, from bleat (v.).
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vellum (n.)
early 15c., from Old French velin "parchment made from calfskin" (13c.), from vel, veel "calf" (see veal).
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soleus (n.)
muscle of the calf of the leg, 1670s, Modern Latin, from Latin solea "sole" (see sole (n.1)). So called for its flatness.
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fat (v.)
Old English fættian "to become fat, fatten," from the source of fat (adj.). Replaced by fatten except in Biblical fatted calf.
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