from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. See under Staff.
- n. a single straight rod or staff, pointed and iron-shod at the bottom, for penetrating the ground, and having a socket joint at the top, used, instead of a tripod, for supporting a compass.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A pilgrim's staff.
- n. A staff concealing a dagger.
- n. A support for a surveyor's compass, consisting of a single leg, instead of the tripod ordinarily used.
- n. A cross-staff.
- n. The group of three stars in a straight line in the belt of Orion, also called the ell-and-yard, our Lady's wand, etc. The leader of the three is
δOrionis, a very white variable star.
- n. verbascum Thapsus, the common mullen.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. desert shrub of southwestern United States and Mexico having slender naked spiny branches that after the rainy season put forth foliage and clusters of red flowers
Sorry, no etymologies found.
A rare specimen of misinterpretation is that of A. Jeremias who refers to a traditional belief that three stars of the constellation Orion are still regarded as Jacob's staff -- a very questionable tradition -- and so give evidence that a mythological motive -- some astral myth -- underlies this story.