from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A stick or cane carried as an aid in walking or climbing.
  • n. A stout stick used as a weapon; a cudgel.
  • n. A pole on which a flag is displayed; a flagstaff.
  • n. A rod or baton carried as a symbol of authority.
  • n. A rule or similar graduated stick used for testing or measuring, as in surveying.
  • n. A group of assistants to a manager, executive, or other person in authority.
  • n. A group of military officers assigned to assist a commanding officer in an executive or advisory capacity.
  • n. The personnel who carry out a specific enterprise: the nursing staff of a hospital.
  • n. Something that serves as a staple or support.
  • n. Music A set of horizontal lines and intermediate spaces used in notation to represent a sequence of pitches, in modern notation normally consisting of five lines and four spaces. Also called stave.
  • transitive v. To provide with a staff of workers or assistants.
  • transitive v. To serve on the staff of.
  • n. A building material of plaster and fiber used as an exterior wall covering of temporary buildings, as at expositions.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a long, straight stick, especially one used to assist in walking.
  • n. A series of horizontal lines on which musical notes are written.
  • n. The employees of a business.
  • n. A mixture of plaster and fibre used as a temporary exterior wall covering (see Wikipedia article)
  • v. to supply (a business) with employees

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A long piece of wood; a stick; the long handle of an instrument or weapon; a pole or stick, used for many purposes
  • n. A stick carried in the hand for support or defense by a person walking; hence, a support; that which props or upholds.
  • n. A pole, stick, or wand borne as an ensign of authority; a badge of office.
  • n. A pole upon which a flag is supported and displayed.
  • n. The round of a ladder.
  • n. A series of verses so disposed that, when it is concluded, the same order begins again; a stanza; a stave.
  • n. The five lines and the spaces on which music is written; -- formerly called stave.
  • n. An arbor, as of a wheel or a pinion of a watch.
  • n. The grooved director for the gorget, or knife, used in cutting for stone in the bladder.
  • n. An establishment of officers in various departments attached to an army, to a section of an army, or to the commander of an army. The general's staff consists of those officers about his person who are employed in carrying his commands into execution. See État Major.
  • n. Hence: A body of assistants serving to carry into effect the plans of a superintendent or manager; sometimes used for the entire group of employees of an enterprise, excluding the top management.
  • n. Plaster combined with fibrous and other materials so as to be suitable for sculpture in relief or in the round, or for forming flat plates or boards of considerable size which can be nailed to framework to make the exterior of a larger structure, forming joints which may afterward be repaired and concealed with fresh plaster.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A stick or pole.
  • n. A stick used as a weapon, as that used at quarter-staff; a club; a cudgel.
  • n. A stick used as an ensign of authority; a baton or scepter. Compare baton, club, mace.
  • n. A post fixed in the ground; a stake.
  • n. A pole on which to hoist and display a flag: as, a flagstaff; an ensign-staff; a jack-staff.
  • n. The pole of a vehicle; a carriage-pole.
  • n. The long handle of certain weapons, as a spear, a halberd, or a poleax.
  • n. A straight-edge for testing or truing a line or surface: as, the proof-staff used in testing the face of the stone in a grind-mill.
  • n. In surveying, a graduated stick, used in leveling. See cross-staff, Jacob's-staff, and cut under leveling-staff.
  • n. One of several instruments formerly used in taking the sun's altitude at sea: as, the fore-staff. back-staff, cross-staff. See these words.
  • n. In ship-building, a measuring and spacing rule.
  • n. The stilt of a plow.
  • n. In surgery, a grooved steel instrument having a curvature, used to guide the knife or gorget through the urethra into the bladder in the operation of lithotomy.
  • n. In architecture, same as rudenture.
  • n. Something which upholds or supports; a support; a prop.
  • n. A round of a ladder.
  • n. A body of assistants or executive officers.
  • n. A letter of the alphabet. See etymology of book.
  • n. A line; a verse; also, a stanza.
  • n. In musical notation, a set of five horizontal lines on which notes are placed so as to indicate the pitch of intended tones.
  • n. In heraldry, same as fissure,5.
  • n. Plaster of Paris mixed, in water, with some cement, glycerin, and dextrine: used as a building material.
  • n. In building, plastering in portable sheets or slabs, prepared for nailing on a frame.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the body of teachers and administrators at a school
  • n. a strong rod or stick with a specialized utilitarian purpose
  • n. a rod carried as a symbol
  • v. serve on the staff of
  • n. personnel who assist their superior in carrying out an assigned task
  • v. provide with staff
  • n. (music) the system of five horizontal lines on which the musical notes are written
  • n. building material consisting of plaster and hair; used to cover external surfaces of temporary structure (as at an exposition) or for decoration


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English staf, from Old English stæf.
Perhaps from German Stoff, stuff.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English stæf, from Proto-Germanic *stabaz. Cognate with Dutch staf, German Stab, Swedish stav. Sense of "group of military officers that assists a commander", attested from 1702, is influenced from German Stab.



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