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Etymology 1Edit

Originally a misspelling of corf (basket), of which cauf remains a homophone.

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cauf (plural cauves)

  1. A chest with holes for keeping fish alive in water.
    • 1926: Permanent International Association of Navigation Congresses, Reports, volume 2, unknown page (Executive Committee)
      The live fish is now kept in the cauves until sold for consumption in the home-country or abroad.
  • Glossographia; or, A Dictionary Interpreting the Hard Words of Whatsoever Language, Now Used in Our Refined English Tongue, by Thomas Blount (1662?; in 1670 Ed.)
    Cauf, a little trunk or chest with holes in it, wherein Fishermen keep Fish alive in the water, ready for use.
  • †cauf” listed in the Oxford English Dictionary [2nd Ed.; 1989]

Etymology 2Edit

Phonetic respelling.


cauf (plural cauves)

  1. Eye dialect spelling of calf.
    • 1845: Charles Rogers, Tom Treddlehoyle’s Thowts, Joakes, an Smiles for Midsummer Day, pages 40–41
      An estimate at traffick hez been made be sum foaks, at wor set ta tack noatis, an it appear’d, bit average a wun month, thear wor enter’d Pogmoor an Hickam, fifteen wheelbarras, nine turnap rowlers, eighteen cauves, six sither grinders, wun wattar barril, nine haulin-horses, two pol’d cahs, three pair a cuts, wun hearse, sixteen dogs, three sheep, fourteen coil-carts, thurty mules, twenty-five geese, an three pigs.
  • Publications of the English Dialect Society, volume 52 (1886), page 26
    CAUF, CAUVES. — Common pronunciation of Calf, Calves: as “I’d been to serve the cauves;” “She’s gotten a quee cauf[.]”



From Old English cealf, from Proto-Germanic *kalbaz, from Proto-Indo-European *gʷolbʰo (womb, animal young).


cauf (plural caur)

  1. calf