Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A staff or stick formerly used in some way about a bed, and frequently serving as a weapon, in which sense the word most commonly occurs. Specifically— A bed-slat.
- n. [Used in the colloquial phrase in the twinkling of a bed-staff, in which, when bedstaff became obsolete, bedpost was substituted, depriving the phrase of its literal force in modern use.
- n. obsolete A wooden pin stuck on the sides of a bedstead, to prevent the bedclothes from slipping on either side.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. “A wooden pin stuck anciently on the sides of the bedstead, to hold the clothes from slipping on either side.”
- bed + staff (Wiktionary)
“Alas, his whole estate and life depended on his hatchet; by his hatchet he earned many a fair penny of the best woodmongers or log-merchants among whom he went a-jobbing; for want of his hatchet he was like to starve; and had death but met with him six days after without a hatchet, the grim fiend would have mowed him down in the twinkling of a bedstaff.”
“And at that I told him, not seeing how I could keep it back, the matter of my former affidavit and of the bedstaff in the dispensing-room, and said that a house where such things happened was no place for me.”
“There is one very obscure part in this statement, namely, the reference to the former affidavit and the matter of the bedstaff.”
“When I was in another service I remember to have spoken to my fellow-servants about the matter of the bedstaff, but I am sure”
“I did what you did not do -- what you are not doing even now; I put two and two together in the twinkling of a bedstaff.”
“See how we trifle! but one can't pass one's youth too amusingly for one must grow old, and that in England; two most serious circumstances, either of which makes people gray in the twinkling of a bedstaff; for know you there is not a country upon earth where there are so many old fools and so few young ones.”
“Marry, she can pluck a chick, and roll pastry, and use a bedstaff, and scour a floor, and sew, and the like.”
Looking for tweets for bedstaff.