Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Moon-calf

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
is an inanimate, shapeless mass (Pliny: Natural History, x. 64). This abortion was supposed to be produced by the influence of the moon. The primary meaning of calf is not the young of a cow, but the issue arising “from throwing out,” as a push, a protuberance; hence the calves of the legs.   1
        “A false conception, called mola, i.e. moon-calf … a lump of flesh without shape or life.”—Holland: Pliny, vii. 15.



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