from The Century Dictionary.

  • To support, attach, or fix by means of a staple or staples.
  • noun A post; a prop; a support.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Of a lock, same as box, 13.
  • noun 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.
  • noun In coal-mining, a shallow shaft within a mine.
  • 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.
  • noun In bookbinding, a clenched wire used to bind together the sections of a book.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A settled mart or market; an emporium; a town where certain commodities are chiefly taken for sale.
  • noun Hence A general market or exchange.
  • noun A commercial monopoly formed by a combination of merchants acting under the sanction of the royal privilege of fairs and markets.
  • noun 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.
  • noun The principal element of or ingredient in anything; the chief constituent; the chief item.
  • noun The material or substance of anything; raw or unmanufactured material.
  • noun 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.
  • In iron ship-building, to make or fit (an angle-bar) in the form of a staple. See staple, n., 8.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To sort according to its staple.
  • transitive verb To fasten together with a staple{9} or staples.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Hence: Place of supply; source; fountain head.
  • noun The principal commodity of traffic in a market; a principal commodity or production of a country or district.
  • noun The principal constituent in anything; chief item.
  • noun Unmanufactured material; raw material.
  • noun The fiber of wool, cotton, flax, or the like.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A shaft, smaller and shorter than the principal one, joining different levels.
  • noun A small pit.
  • noun obsolete A district granted to an abbey.
  • adjective rare Pertaining to, or being a market or staple for, commodities.
  • adjective Established in commerce; occupying the markets; settled.
  • adjective rare Fit to be sold; marketable.
  • adjective Regularly produced or manufactured in large quantities; belonging to wholesale traffic; principal; chief.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun now historical 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.
  • noun The principal commodity produced in a town or region.
  • noun A basic or essential supply.
  • noun A recurring topic or character.
  • noun Short fiber, as of cotton, sheep’s wool, or the like, which can be spun into yarn or thread.
  • verb transitive To sort according to its staple.
  • noun A wire fastener used to secure stacks of paper by penetrating all the sheets and curling around.
  • noun A wire fastener used to secure something else by penetrating and curling.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word staple.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.