Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English drove, drof, draf, from Old English drāf (action of driving; a driving out, expulsion; drove, herd, band; company, band; road along which cattle are driven), from Proto-Germanic *draibō (a drive, push, movement, drove), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰreybʰ- (to drive, push), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰer- (to support). Cognate with Scots drave, dreef (drove, crowd), Dutch dreef (a walkway, wide road with trees, drove), Middle High German treip (a drove), Swedish drev (a drive, drove), Icelandic dreif (a scattering, distribution). More at drive.


drove (plural droves)

  1. A cattle drive or the herd being driven by it; thus, a number of cattle driven to market or new pastures.
  2. (figuratively, by extension, usually in the plural) A large number of people on the move (literally or figuratively).
    • 2009, Erik Zachte, (Please provide the book title or journal name)[1]:
      New editors are joining English Wikipedia in droves!
  3. (collective) A group of hares.
  4. A road or track along which cattle are habitually driven; a drove road.
  5. A narrow drain or channel used in the irrigation of land[1].
  6. A broad chisel used to bring stone to a nearly smooth surface.
  7. The grooved surface of stone finished by the drove chisel.
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From earlier drave, from Middle English drave, draf, from Old English drāf, first and third person singular indicative preterite of drīfan (to drive).



  1. simple past tense of drive
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter II, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC:
      I had occasion […] to make a somewhat long business trip to Chicago, and on my return […] I found Farrar awaiting me in the railway station. He smiled his wonted fraction by way of greeting, […], and finally leading me to his buggy, turned and drove out of town.
    • 1939 September, D. S. Barrie, “The Railways of South Wales”, in Railway Magazine, page 157:
      Iron and coal were the magnets that drew railways to this land of lovely valleys and silent mountains—for such it was a century-and-a-half ago, before man blackened the valleys with the smoke of his forges, scarred the green hills with his shafts and waste-heaps, and drove the salmon from the quiet Rhondda and the murmuring Taff.


drove (third-person singular simple present droves, present participle droving, simple past and past participle droved)

  1. To herd cattle; particularly over a long distance.
    Synonym: drive
    • 1890, Banjo Paterson, The Man from Snowy River:
      He's droving now with Conroy's sheep along the Castlereagh.
  2. (transitive) To finish (stone) with a drove chisel.


  1. ^ 1858, Peter Lund Simmonds, The Dictionary of Trade Products


Middle EnglishEdit



  1. Alternative form of drof