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The calvous (sense 1) British actor Sir Patrick Stewart at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival

Borrowed from Latin calvus (bald, hairless) (from Proto-Indo-European *kl̥h₂wós, from *kalw- (bald; naked) + *-wós (suffix forming adjectives from verb stems)) +‎ -ous (suffix forming adjectives from nouns, denoting possession or presence of a quality).[1][2]



calvous (comparative more calvous, superlative most calvous)

  1. (formal, medicine, rare) Lacking most or all of one's hair; bald, hairless.
    Synonym: glabrous
    Antonyms: hairy, hirsute; see also Thesaurus:hirsute
    • 1994, Tibor Fischer, The Thought Gang, Edinburgh: Polygon Books, →ISBN; 1st Scribner Paperback Fiction edition, New York, N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, 1997, →ISBN, page 119:
      Hubert had given me his passport, in great excitement. [...] Admittedly most old, bloated, calvous Germans could double for me, and even if he hadn't been doppelganger material, with the beard I had started growing and the two black eyes, you'd need x-rays to spot the difference.
  2. (botany, rare) Lacking bristles or pappuses.
    • 1838, William Henry Harvey, The Genera of South African Plants, Arranged According to the Natural System, Cape Town: A. S. Robertson, [], →OCLC, order 62 (Compositæ), tribe 4 (Senecionideæ), sub tribe 4 (Anthemideæ), division 4 (Athanasieæ), page 183:
      LXII. MORYSIA. Cass. / Achenium calvous, terete, furrowed, wingless. [...] Glabrous shrubs, with scattered oblong, dentate, or entire leaves, and corymbose yellow flowers: closely related to Athanasia, from which they differ in the calvous achenia.
    • 1857, W[illiam] H[enry] H[arvey], “Geographie Botanique raisonee ou Exposition des faits principaux et des lois concernant la distribution geographique des plantes des l’époque actuelle. Par M. Alphonse De Candolle. 2 Vols. Paris. 1855. [book review]”, in A[lexander] H[enry] Halliday, W[illiam] H[enry] Harvey, S. Houghton [et al.], editors, The Natural History Review: A Quarterly Journal of Zoology, Botany, Geology, and Palæontology, volume IV, London: Williams & Norgate, []; Dublin: Hodges, Smith & Co.; Edinburgh: Williams & Norgate, [], →OCLC, page 52:
      In almost every family enumerated, the per centage is in favour of naked or wingless seeds, remarkably so in Dipsaceæ, where 11 per cent. of species with calvous seeds are widely dispersed, while only 3 per cent. of those furnished with pappus enjoy as wide a range. Among the Compositæ the proportions are as 4·5 to 2·9 per cent. in favour of calvous seeds, by which it should follow that daisies were twice as diffusable as thistles or dandelion.

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  1. ^ John Lindley and Thomas Moore, editors (1874), “CALVOUS”, in The Treasury of Botany: A Popular Dictionary of the Vegetable Kingdom; with which is Incorporated a Glossary of Botanical Terms, new and revised edition, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., →OCLC, page 203, column 1: “CALVOUS. Quite naked; bald; having no hairs, or other such processes.”
  2. ^ Compare “calvities”, in Mosby’s Pocket Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing & Health Professions, 6th edition, St. Louis, Mo.: Mosby, Elsevier, 2010, →ISBN, page 209: “calvities [...] [L, calvus, without hair], baldness. —calvous, adj.”

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