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

  • n. A principal raw material or commodity grown or produced in a region.
  • n. A major item of trade in steady demand.
  • n. A basic dietary item, such as flour, rice, or corn.
  • n. A basic or principal element or feature.
  • n. The fiber of cotton, wool, or flax, graded as to length and fineness.
  • adj. Produced or stocked in large quantities to meet steady demand: Wheat is a staple crop.
  • adj. Principal; main: a staple topic of conversation.
  • transitive v. To grade (fibers) according to length and fineness.
  • n. A thin piece of wire in the shape of a square bracket that is driven by a device through sheets of paper or similar material and flattened to serve as a fastening.
  • n. A U-shaped metal loop with pointed ends, driven into a surface to hold a bolt, hook, or hasp or to hold wiring in place.
  • transitive v. To secure or fasten by means of a staple or staples.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A town containing merchants who have exclusive right, under royal authority, to purchase or produce certain goods for export; also, the body of such merchants seen as a group.
  • n. The principal commodity produced in a town or region.
  • n. A basic or essential supply.
  • n. A recurring topic or character.
  • n. Short fiber, as of cotton, sheep’s wool, or the like, which can be spun into yarn or thread.
  • v. To sort according to its staple.
  • n. A wire fastener used to secure stacks of paper by penetrating all the sheets and curling around.
  • n. A wire fastener used to secure something else by penetrating and curling.
  • n. A U-shaped metal fastener, used to attach fence wire or other material to posts or structures.
  • n. One of a set of U-shaped metal rods hammered into a structure, such as a piling or wharf, which serve as a ladder.
  • v. To secure with a staple.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Pertaining to, or being a market or staple for, commodities.
  • adj. Established in commerce; occupying the markets; settled.
  • adj. Fit to be sold; marketable.
  • adj. Regularly produced or manufactured in large quantities; belonging to wholesale traffic; principal; chief.
  • n. A settled mart; an emporium; a city or town to which merchants brought commodities for sale or exportation in bulk; a place for wholesale traffic.
  • n. Hence: Place of supply; source; fountain head.
  • n. The principal commodity of traffic in a market; a principal commodity or production of a country or district.
  • n. The principal constituent in anything; chief item.
  • n. Unmanufactured material; raw material.
  • n. The fiber of wool, cotton, flax, or the like.
  • n. A loop of metal such as iron, or a bar or wire, bent and formed with two points to be driven into wood, to hold a hook, pin, or the like.
  • n. A small loop of metal such as steel, bent into a U-shape with the points sharpened, used to fasten sheets of paper together by driving the staple{8} through the stacked sheets and into a formed receptacle which curls the ends in and backward, thus holding the papers firmly together; also, a similar, slightly larger such fastener which may be driven into wood to fasten objects to a wooden backing.
  • n.
  • n. A shaft, smaller and shorter than the principal one, joining different levels.
  • n. A small pit.
  • n. A district granted to an abbey.
  • transitive v. To sort according to its staple.
  • transitive v. To fasten together with a staple{9} or staples.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To support, attach, or fix by means of a staple or staples.
  • n. A settled mart or market; an emporium; a town where certain commodities are chiefly taken for sale.
  • n. Hence A general market or exchange.
  • n. A commercial monopoly formed by a combination of merchants acting under the sanction of the royal privilege of fairs and markets.
  • n. The principal commodity grown or manufactured in a locality, either for exportation or home consumption—that is, originally, the merchandise which was sold at a staple or mart.
  • n. The principal element of or ingredient in anything; the chief constituent; the chief item.
  • n. The material or substance of anything; raw or unmanufactured material.
  • n. The fiber of any material used for spinning, used in a general sense and as expressive of the character of the material: as, wool of short staple; cotton of long staple, etc.
  • Pertaining to or being a mart or staple for commodities: as, a staple town.
  • Mainly occupying commercial enterprise; established in commerce: as, a staple trade.
  • According to the laws of commerce; marketable; fit to be sold.
  • Chief: principal; regularly produced or made for market: as, staple commodities.
  • To erect a staple; form a monopoly of production and sale; establish a mart for such purpose.
  • To furnish or provide with a staple or staples.
  • To sort or classify according to the length of the fiber: as, to staple wool.
  • In iron ship-building, to make or fit (an angle-bar) in the form of a staple. See staple, n., 8.
  • n. A post; a prop; a support.
  • n. A loop of metal, or a bar or wire bent and formed with two points, to be driven into wood to hold a hook, pin, or bolt.
  • n. In founding, a piece of nail-iron wiih a flat disk riveted to the head, and pointed below, used in a mold to hold a core in position.
  • n. Of a lock, same as box, 13.
  • n. In musical instruments of the oboe class, the metallic tube to which the reeds are fastened, and through which the tone is conveyed from them into the wooden body of the instrument.
  • n. In coal-mining, a shallow shaft within a mine.
  • n. In bookbinding, a clenched wire used to bind together the sections of a book.
  • n. In iron ship-building, an angle-bar bent and welded so as to form approximately a right angle in two places so that the bar has the outline of a flattened U. A box-staple is an angle-bar similarly bent and welded into an approximately rectangular outline.

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

  • n. a natural fiber (raw cotton, wool, hemp, flax) that can be twisted to form yarn
  • n. a short U-shaped wire nail for securing cables
  • n. material suitable for manufacture or use or finishing
  • n. paper fastener consisting of a short length of U-shaped wire that can fasten papers together
  • n. (usually plural) a necessary commodity for which demand is constant
  • adj. necessary or important, especially regarding food or commodities
  • v. secure or fasten with a staple or staples


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

Middle English, official market for purchase of export goods, from Anglo-Norman estaple, perhaps from Middle Dutch stāpel, heap, emporium.
Middle English, from Old English stapol, post, pillar.



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