- a group of persons, as employees, charged with carrying out the work of an establishment or executing some undertaking.
- a group of assistants to a manager, superintendent, or executive.
- a member of a staff.
- a body of officers without command authority, appointed to assist a commanding officer.
- the parts of any army concerned with administrative matters, planning, etc., rather than with actual participation in combat.
- those members of an organization serving only in an auxiliary or advisory capacity on a given project.Compare line1(def 38).
- a stick, pole, or rod for aid in walking or climbing, for use as a weapon, etc.
- a rod or wand serving as a symbol of office or authority, as a crozier, baton, truncheon, or mace.
- a pole on which a flag is hung or displayed.
- something that supports or sustains.
- Also stave. Music. a set of horizontal lines, now five in number, with the corresponding four spaces between them, on which music is written.
- Archaic. the shaft of a spear, lance, etc.
- of or relating to a military or organizational staff: a staff officer; staff meetings.
- (of a professional person) employed on the staff of a corporation, publication, institution, or the like rather than being self-employed or practicing privately: a staff writer; staff physicians at the hospital.
- to provide with a staff of assistants or workers: She staffed her office with excellent secretaries.
- to serve on the staff of.
- to send to a staff for study or further work (often followed by out): The White House will staff out the recommendations before making a decision.
- to hire employees, as for a new office or project (sometimes followed by up): Next month we'll begin staffing up for the reelection campaign.
Origin of staff1
- 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
- a composition of plaster and fibrous material used for a temporary finish and in ornamental work, as on exposition buildings.
Origin of staff2
Examples from the Web for staves
It is clear to you that she intends to use the staves as oars.Whatever You Do Someone Will Die. A Short Story About Impossible Choices in Iraq
Nathan Bradley Bethea
August 31, 2014
In Italy he decides that fascism is in fact “a sort of boy scout regime; but instead of staves it carries revolvers.”The Grand Tour in Style: Robert Byron’s ‘Europe in the Looking-Glass’
November 16, 2012
Another common trick is to flavor inexpensive wines with oak chips or staves.The Great Wine Cover-up
August 18, 2009
There was a sound of rude voices, and a clashing of swords and staves.A Little Book of Profitable Tales
At this, half a score reached him their staves, and he took the stoutest and heaviest of them all.The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
These were in metal, and were raised at the ends of spears or staves.The Cat of Bubastes
G. A. Henty
I had the manager on board and three or four pilgrims with their staves—all complete.Heart of Darkness
With brooms and staves they ran to meet it far from their dwellings, beating it with fury.
- a group of people employed by a company, individual, etc, for executive, clerical, sales work, etc
- (modifier) attached to or provided for the staff of an establishmenta staff doctor
- the body of teachers or lecturers of an educational institution, as distinct from the students
- the officers appointed to assist a commander, service, or central headquarters organization in establishing policy, plans, etc
- a stick with some special use, such as a walking stick or an emblem of authority
- something that sustains or supportsbread is the staff of life
- a pole on which a flag is hung
- mainly British a graduated rod used in surveying, esp for sighting to with a levelling instrumentUsual US name: rod
- Also called: stave music
- the system of horizontal lines grouped into sets of five (four in the case of plainsong) upon which music is written. The spaces between them are also used, being employed in conjunction with a clef in order to give a graphic indication of pitch
- any set of five lines in this system together with its clefthe treble staff
- (tr) to provide with a staff
- US a mixture of plaster and hair used to cover the external surface of temporary structures and for decoration
- 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 staves
Old English stæf "walking stick, strong pole used for carrying, rod used as a weapon" (also, in plural, "letter, character, writing," cf. stæfcræft "grammar"), from Proto-Germanic *stabaz (cf. Old Saxon staf, Old Norse stafr, Old Frisian stef, Middle Low German and Middle Dutch staf, Old High German stab, German Stab, Gothic *stafs "element;" Middle Dutch stapel "pillar, foundation"), from PIE root *stebh- "post, stem, to support, place firmly on, fasten" (cf. Old Lithuanian stabas "idol," Lithuanian stebas "staff, pillar;" Old Church Slavonic stoboru "pillar;" Sanskrit stabhnati "supports;" Greek stephein "to tie around, encircle, wreathe," staphyle "grapevine, bunch of grapes;" Old English stapol "post, pillar").
Sense of "group of military officers that assists a commander" is attested from 1702, apparently from German, from the notion of the "baton" that is a badge of office or authority (a sense attested in English from 1530s). Meaning "group of employees (as at an office or hospital)" is first found 1837. Staff of life "bread" is from the Biblical phrase "to break the staff of bread" (Lev. xxvi:26), translating Hebrew matteh lekhem.
"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.
"to provide with a staff of assistants," 1859, from staff (n.). Related: Staffed; staffing.
- A specific group of workers.
- To provide with a staff of workers or assistants.
- To serve on the staff of.