AskDefine | Define drove

Dictionary Definition



1 the act of applying force to propel something; "after reaching the desired velocity the drive is cut off" [syn: thrust, driving force]
2 a mechanism by which force or power is transmitted in a machine; "a variable speed drive permitted operation through a range of speeds"
3 a series of actions advancing a principle or tending toward a particular end; "he supported populist campaigns"; "they worked in the cause of world peace"; "the team was ready for a drive toward the pennant"; "the movement to end slavery"; "contributed to the war effort" [syn: campaign, cause, crusade, movement, effort]
4 a road leading up to a private house; "they parked in the driveway" [syn: driveway, private road]
5 the trait of being highly motivated; "his drive and energy exhausted his co-workers"
6 hitting a golf ball off of a tee with a driver; "he sliced his drive out of bounds" [syn: driving]
7 the act of driving a herd of animals overland
8 a journey in a vehicle driven by someone else; "he took the family for a drive in his new car" [syn: ride]
9 a physiological state corresponding to a strong need or desire
10 (computer science) a device that writes data onto or reads data from a storage medium
11 a wide scenic road planted with trees; "the riverside drive offers many exciting scenic views" [syn: parkway]
12 (sports) a hard straight return (as in tennis or squash)


1 operate or control a vehicle; "drive a car or bus"; "Can you drive this four-wheel truck?"
2 travel or be transported in a vehicle; "We drove to the university every morning"; "They motored to London for the theater" [syn: motor]
3 cause someone or something to move by driving; "She drove me to school every day"; "We drove the car to the garage"
4 force into or from an action or state, either physically or metaphorically; "She rammed her mind into focus"; "He drives me mad" [syn: force, ram]
5 to compel or force or urge relentlessly or exert coercive pressure on, or motivate strongly; "She is driven by her passion"
6 cause to move back by force or influence; "repel the enemy"; "push back the urge to smoke"; "beat back the invaders" [syn: repel, repulse, force back, push back, beat back] [ant: attract]
7 compel somebody to do something, often against his own will or judgment; "She finally drove him to change jobs"
8 push, propel, or press with force; "Drive a nail into the wall"
9 cause to move rapidly by striking or throwing with force; "drive the ball far out into the field"
10 strive and make an effort to reach a goal; "She tugged for years to make a decent living"; "We have to push a little to make the deadline!"; "She is driving away at her doctoral thesis" [syn: tug, labor, labour, push]
11 move into a desired direction of discourse; "What are you driving at?" [syn: get, aim]
12 have certain properties when driven; "This car rides smoothly"; "My new truck drives well" [syn: ride]
13 work as a driver; "He drives a bread truck"; "She drives for the taxi company in Newark"
14 move by being propelled by a force; "The car drove around the corner"
15 urge forward; "drive the cows into the barn"
16 proceed along in a vehicle; "We drive the turnpike to work" [syn: take]
17 strike with a driver, as in teeing off; "drive a golfball"
18 hit very hard and straight with the bat swinging more or less vertically; "drive a ball"
19 excavate horizontally; "drive a tunnel"
20 cause to function by supplying the force or power for or by controlling; "The amplifier drives the tube"; "steam drives the engines"; "this device drives the disks for the computer"
21 hunting: search for game; "drive the forest"
22 hunting: chase from cover into more open ground; "drive the game" [also: drove, driven]drove


1 a group of animals (a herd or flock) moving together
2 a moving crowd [syn: horde, swarm]
3 a stonemason's chisel with a broad edge for dressing stone [syn: drove chisel]drove See drive

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /'drɔʊf/


  1. A number of cattle driven to market or new pastures.
  2. A road or track along which cattle are habitually driven



  1. simple past of drive

Extensive Definition

Drovers' road, or drove, or droveway, is the term used for an ancient route for the long distance driving of animals on the hoof to market in the British Isles; and some other regions of the world. In parts of Britain, especially near to bigger towns and cities, Drovers' roads are often wider than other roads in a particular locality. In the United Kingdom, where many original drovers' roads have been converted into single carriageway metalled roads, unusually wide verges are often left on either side of the road. Thus wide verges are often an indicator that a particular road may have once been used as route for moving livestock. In Wales, where animals often started out on their journeys, drovers roads are often recognisable by being deeply set into the countryside with high earth walls or hedges. The most characteristic feature of these roads is the occasional dog-leg turn in the road which provided cover for animals and men in severe rain or snow. Some drovers roads had to cross mountains and it is likely that the so-called Roman steps in the Rhinogydd is an example of an early drove road.


The people using such routes were called drovers. They accompanied their livestock either on foot or on horseback, travelling substantial distances. Rural England, Wales and Scotland are crossed by numerous drove roads that were used for this trade, many of which are now no more than tracks, and some lost altogether. The word "drovers" is used for those engaged in long distance trade - distances which could cover much of the length of Britain or other world regions where droving was used - while "drivers" was used for those taking cattle to local markets.

Early history

Some form of Drovers' roads existed in Romano-British times and certainly throughout the Early Middle Ages. For example, the old Drovers' road consisting of the main east/west trail that connects the Dorset/Exeter region with London and thence Suffolk is along a similar alignment as the original Roman road of the same route.
Drove as a placename can be traced to the early 1200s, and there are records of cattle driven from Wales to London and sheep from Lincolnshire to York in the early 1300s. Drovers from Scotland were licensed in 1359 to drive stock through England. These may be simply the earliest records of a more ancient trade. There is increasing evidence for large-scale cattle rearing in Bronze Age and Iron Age Britain. Cattle and sheep were part of the Romano-British economy. By the Anglo-Saxon period there was long distance movement of cattle, including stolen stock.
What is certain is that during the medieval period there was a substantial trade in cattle out of Wales into England, to which cattle from Ireland were added. These were driven across Somerset, Wiltshire and Berkshire to feed the growing population of London.

Seventeenth century onwards

By the seventeenth century Daniel Defoe described Smithfield as the greatest meat market in the world. In 1855 it was moved to the outskirts of the city, to a site known as the Caledonian Market on Caledonian Road, Islington, to avoid the problems of large numbers of stock being driven through the streets. Cattle were also driven to other major cities, to areas of intermediate grazing to be fattened for market, and to markets and fairs. Many of the greatest stock fairs, such as Tan Hill, Yarnbury and White Sheet in Wiltshire, were held on ancient sites to which cattle were driven for centuries, perhaps since prehistoric times.
In addition, geese, turkeys, pigs, and horses were also driven to markets, and in large quantities to London. Cattle were fitted with iron shoes--and geese with boots--to protect their feet after roads were "improved". There is a record of a wager in 1740 on whether geese or turkeys would travel faster – the winner being the geese which could graze as they moved, while the turkeys had to stop to be fed.
The task of controlling herds of three or four hundred animals on narrow droves, keeping them healthy, and feeding them en route over several weeks required expertise and authority. There was licensing under the legislation intended to control badgers, although it seems to have been less rigorously applied to drovers. They were also exempted from the Disarming Acts of 1716 and 1748, which were passed after Jacobite uprisings . They were not necessarily literate but were respected as experts in their trade. The regularity of the Welsh trade across Wiltshire is proved by an inscription in Welsh on a cottage at Stockbridge, still visible in the twentieth century; "Satisfactory hay, sweet pasture, good ale and a comfortable bed".
Much of the trade in cattle from Wales to London was done on letters of credit. In 1706 the law was changed specifically to prevent drovers escaping their debts by declaring themselves bankrupt. The trade promoted the development of banking systems in both London and Wales. One drover set up his own Black Ox Bank in Llandovery in 1799, which survived until 1909 when it was taken over by Lloyds Bank.
Droving declined during the nineteenth century, through a combination of agricultural change, rail transport, cattle disease and more intensive use of the countryside through which the stock had passed for hundreds of years. The last recorded large-scale cattle drove out of Wales was in 1870, and of sheep in 1900, although it briefly revived during the rail strike of 1912.

North America

Cattle drives in North America by American cowboys and South American cattle drivers are similar in nature; however, these routes generally did not follow an exact roadway, but rather a general geographic route.

See also

External links


Further reading

  • Bettey, J.H. (1983). "Livestock Trade in the West Country during the Seventeenth Century", In: Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society, vol.127, (1983), p.123.
  • Godwin and Toulson (1977). The Drovers' Roads of Wales. London: Wildwood House.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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