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Etymology 1[edit]

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 number of cattle driven to market or new pastures.
  2. (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.
  5. A narrow drain or channel used in the irrigation of land.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Simmonds to this entry?)
  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 terms[edit]


Etymology 2[edit]

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
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 2, in The Celebrity:
      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.

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.
    • 1890, Banjo Paterson, he Man from Snowy River:
      He's droving now with Conroy's sheep along the Castlereagh.
  2. (transitive) To finish (stone) with a drove chisel.



Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of drof