- one of the thin, narrow, shaped pieces of wood that form the sides of a cask, tub, or similar vessel.
- a stick, rod, pole, or the like.
- a rung of a ladder, chair, etc.
- a verse or stanza of a poem or song.
- the alliterating sound in a line of verse, as the w-sound in wind in the willows.
- Music. staff1(def 10).
- to break in a stave or staves of (a cask or barrel) so as to release the wine, liquor, or other contents.
- to release (wine, liquor, etc.) by breaking the cask or barrel.
- to break or crush (something) inward (often followed by in).
- to break (a hole) in, especially in the hull of a boat.
- to break to pieces; splinter; smash.
- to furnish with a stave or staves.
- to beat with a stave or staff.
- to become staved in, as a boat; break in or up.
- to move along rapidly.
- stave off,
- to put, ward, or keep off, as by force or evasion.
- to prevent in time; forestall: He wasn't able to stave off bankruptcy.
Origin of stave
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for stave
Four weeks after the injections, all 20 of the participants had developed the antibodies needed to stave off the infection.The Race for the Ebola Vaccine
January 7, 2015
And how much do you need to sweat to stave off the disease that kills 500,000 people every year?Running 15 Miles a Week Could Slash Alzheimer’s Risk
December 12, 2014
Will “loyalty cards” be enough to stave of a Republican massacre of House Democrats on Tuesday?The Democrats’ Simple Midterm Weapon
November 4, 2014
No surprise, therefore, that women are desperate to stave off the “visible signs” of aging.Nicole Kidman Botox Insanity: Why All Women Lose Out When We Obsess Over Stars’ Faces
May 25, 2014
While pundits think Morse is relatively safe in his effort to stave off recall, Giron is facing a much tighter race.A Battle Over Gun Control in Colorado
September 2, 2013
Here is Arnold of Sowley will troll as good a stave as any man in the Company.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
Somehow, he had hoped that his father and his friends might have been able to stave off ruin.Tom Swift and his Electric Runabout
And she remembered her own passionate attempts to stave off despair by work.A Spirit in Prison
If I could stave off poverty no real harm could come to my child.The Woman Thou Gavest Me
Jack answered by a graceful flourish of his hands, and a stave of another song.Clare Avery
Emily Sarah Holt
- any one of a number of long strips of wood joined together to form a barrel, bucket, boat hull, etc
- any of various bars, slats, or rods, usually of wood, such as a rung of a ladder or a crosspiece bracing the legs of a chair
- any stick, staff, etc
- a stanza or verse of a poem
- Britishan individual group of five lines and four spaces used in staff notation
- another word for staff 1 (def. 9)
- (often foll by in) to break or crush (the staves of a boat, barrel, etc) or (of the staves of a boat) to be broken or crushed
- (tr usually foll by in) to burst or force (a hole in something)
- (tr) to provide (a ladder, chair, etc) with a stave or staves
- (tr) Scot to sprain (a finger, toe, etc)
Word Origin and History for stave
"piece of a barrel," 1750, back-formation from staves (late 14c.), plural of staff (cf. leaves/leaf), possibly from Old English, but not recorded there. The verb (to stave in, past tense stove) is 1590s, originally nautical, on notion of bashing in the staves of a cask and letting out the contents; stave off (1620s) is literally "keep off with a staff," as of dogs.