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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- ‎(cloudy, dirty, muddy). 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: 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).


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

  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.
  2. To herd cattle; particularly over a long distance.
    • Paterson
      He's droving now with Conroy's sheep along the Castlereagh.
  3. (transitive) To finish (stone) with a drove chisel.